Tribute albums only work if the feeling’s right. Songs can always be rearranged, styles copied and energy siphoned off past achievements, but if the feeling isn’t right, it’s just parasitic. John Hicks’ new CD, “Music in the Key of Clark,” dedicated to jazz piano great Sonny Clark, avoids this problem completely.

Clark was one of those musicians about whom it’s said, “He never played bad a note.” One of the most important hard-bop pianists, with a style instantly recognizable for its intensity, he played on many essential late-’50s and early-’60s sessions before his untimely death in 1963 at the age of 31. His own Blue Note releases, most notably the jazz-fan favorite “Cool Struttin’,” remain classics.

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