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Sonny Red lectures and performs at the University of Connecticut

 Digital Record


  • 1978 September 19


Saxophonist Sylvester Kyner (also known as Sonny Red) spoke to the Black Experience in the Arts course on 9/19/1978 (2015-0002/RR207). Introduced by Hale Smith (who spells it K-I-N-E-R, Sonny Red spoke about the music he's been playing, the scene, plays music, and answers questions from the class.

Biographical / Historical

Sylvester Kyner, Jr. (December 17, 1932 – March 20, 1981), known as Sonny Red, was an American jazz alto saxophonist and composer associated with the hard bop idiom among other styles. Throughout his 30 year career Red toured, performed, and recorded with Frank Rosolino, Art Blakely, Curtis Fuller, Paul Quinichette, Donald Byrd, Kenny Dorham, Clifford Jordan, Pony Poindexter, Yusef Lateef, and Howard McGhee.

Sonny Red played with Art Blakey, Curtis Fuller, Paul Quinichette, Donald Byrd, Grant Green, Blue Mitchell, Wynton Kelly, Billy Higgins, and Cedar Walton.

In the late 1940s, when he was still in his teens, Sonny Red began to play professionally in Detroit with Barry Harris until 1952. He went on to play with Art Blakey in 1954, and in 1957 recorded with Curtis Fuller on three albums. Sonny Red first came on the greater jazz scene in the late 1950s with Art Pepper in the album Two Altos.

He made two albums as a leader in 1961; both were released by Jazzland Recordings, a subsidiary of Riverside Records. He continued to record in the 1960s, including four albums with Donald Byrd in 1967.

Sonny Red died in March 1981, at the age of 48.

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1 Reels (Magnetic tape audio recordings) : RR 207 1 reel, SideA-0:41:29, Side B-0:30:57; tape speed 3¾ IPS; track position ½-Track Mono; Substrate: Polyester. The recordings were combined for ease of listening. The combined run time of the digital recording is 1:12:18.

Existence and Location of Originals

Original audio recordings reside in the University of Connecticut, Black Experience in the Arts Collection, Archives & Special Collections, UConn Library

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs Connecticut 06269-1205 USA US