Archive for Lonnie Hillyer

105 minutes with legendary Clarence “C” Sharpe

Posted in Clarence C Sharpe, jazz with tags , , , , , , , on May 30, 2012 by crownpropeller

Update (May 2016): Check here from time to time, I may have uploaded some more music with Clarence C. Sharpe.


UPDATE (June 7, 2012): Bart Egers was so nice to send me a link to the Jazz Loft Project, where you can hear – amongst other interesting stuff from the W. Eugene Smith Collection – a minor blues  with Zoot Sims and Clarence Sharpe, saxophone; Dick Scott, drums; Vinnie Burke, bass, recorded in March 1964. Thanks!


On the internet you unfortunately  will not find a lot of of information about alto saxophonist Clarence “C” Sharpe  (1937–1990). But almost all pages that reference Sharpe use adjectives like legendary and underground.

Clarence “C” Sharpe at the “Tin Palace”, N.Y.C., April 8, 1980.
Photo by Otto Flückiger

Despite the fact that he was first  heard on a Lee Morgan LP for Blue Note (Indeed!, recorded  on November 4, 1956), Clarence “C” Sharpe never had much of a career.

Clarence “C” Sharpe’s first recording session was for
Lee Morgan’s Blue Note LP “Indeed”.

Tom Lord ‘s Jazz Discography just mentions four sessions: the one with Morgan, a session on August 26, 1969 under Archie Shepp’s name for Impulse (For Losers), one in 1984 with drummer Monky Kobayashi’s N.Y. Bebop Band for Paddlewheel. And finally one in January 1985 under pianist Freddie Redd’s name for Uptown.

Sharpe was born in St. Louis and grew up in Philadelphia where he played with people like McCoy Tyner and Philly Joe Jones. He probably already lived in N.Y.C. when he recorded with Morgan in 1956. It is not quite clear why nothing much happened for him after that – but several internet sources mention problems with drugs. For a while (when?) he mostly played in the subways of N.Y.C., at other times he had regular engagements with his own group or as a sideman.

In spring 1980 Clarence “C” Sharpe was playing with his quintet at the “Tin Palace” at 315 Bowery. My friend Otto Flückiger was there on the evening of April 8 (Guenti, were you also there?) and brought his tape recorder with him as well as his camera (click on photos to enlarge):

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