Sonny Red

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Sylvester Kyner Jr.
Born(1932-12-17)17 December 1932
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Died20 March 1981(1981-03-20) (aged 48)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
InstrumentsAlto saxophonist

Sonny Red (December 17, 1932 – March 20, 1981) was an American jazz alto saxophonist and composer associated with the hard bop idiom among other styles.

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 with Barry Harris. He continued to play with Barry Harris until 1952.[1] He went on to play with Art Blakey in 1954, and in 1957 recorded with Curtis Fuller on three albums.[2]

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.[3][4] He continued to record in the 1960s, including four albums with Donald Byrd in 1967.

By the 1970s, however, Sonny Red was falling into obscurity. He died in March 1981, at the age of 48.


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Donald Byrd

With Curtis Fuller

With Bill Hardman

With Yusef Lateef

With Pony Poindexter

With Paul Quinichette

With Bobby Timmons

With Frank Wess

  • Jazz Is Busting Out All Over (1957)


  1. ^ "Sonny Red". Discogs. Retrieved 2018-01-20.
  2. ^ ""The Mode" and about Sonny Red". Jazz Con Class Radio. 2013-11-08. Retrieved 2018-01-20.
  3. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Sonny Red". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  4. ^ Svanoe, Anders (2007). "Bluesville: The Journey of Sonny Red". Annual Review of Jazz Studies. 13 (2003).