Sonny Red (December 17, 1932 in Detroit as Sylvester Kyner Jr. – March 20, 1981) was an American jazz alto saxophonist associated with the hard bop idiom among other styles. He had some success in the 1960s, but had fallen into obscurity by the late 1970s.
Sonny Red played with Art Blakey, Curtis Fuller, Paul Quinichette, Donald Byrd, Grant Green, Blue Mitchell, Wynton Kelly, Billy Higgins and Cedar Walton. Sonny Red made two albums as a leader in 1961, both of which were released on Jazzland Records, a subsidiary of Riverside Records, and long out of print. Fantasy Records has since combined these two LPs, "The Mode" and "Images" on one CD. Both of these albums have their melodic side as well as bopish lines that may remind those unfamiliar with Sonny Red of Jackie McLean rather than Paul Desmond, to whom Red bears no resemblance for an alto comparison. It is played in the '50's - '60's Blue Note style bop.
Album Personnel: Sonny Red-alto sax, Grant Green-guitar, Barry Haris-piano, George Tucker-bass, Jimmy Cobb-drums on 1,3,5. Cedar Walton-piano, George Tucker-bass, Jimmy Cobb-bass on 2,4,6,7. Blue Mitchell-trumpet (8-10 only), Grant Green-guitar (11-12 only), Barry Harris-piano, George Tucker-bass, Lex Humphries, Jimmy Cobb (11-13 only) - drums.
- 1957: Two Altos (Regent, 1957) - shared album with Art Pepper
- 1959-60: Out of the Blue (Blue Note)
- 1961: Breezing (Jazzland)
- 1961: A Story Tale (Jazzland) - with Clifford Jordan
- 1961: The Mode (Jazzland) - with Grant Green and Barry Harris
- 1962: Images (Jazzland) - with Grant Green and Barry Harris
- 1971: Sonny Red (Mainstream)
With Donald Byrd
With Curtis Fuller
- New Trombone (Prestige, 1957)
- Curtis Fuller with Red Garland (New Jazz, 1957)
- Jazz ...It's Magic! (Regent, 1957)
With Bill Hardman
- Bill Hardman
- Saying Something
With Yusef Lateef
- The Blue Yusef Lateef (Atlantic, 1968)
With Pony Poindexter
- Pony's Express (Epic, 1962)
With Paul Quinichette
- On the Sunny Side (Prestige, 1957)
With Bobby Timmons
- Live at the Connecticut Jazz Party (Early Bird Records, 1964)
With Frank Wess
- Jazz Is Busting Out All Over (1957)
- Svanoe, Anders (2007). "Bluesville: The Journey of Sonny Red". Annual Review of Jazz Studies 13 (2003).