Stitt's Bits: Bebop Recordings 1949-1952 [Box Set]

Stitt's Bits: Bebop Recordings 1949-1952 [Box Set]

by Sonny Stitt
     
 
The rap on Sonny Stitt is that he was little more than an imitator of Charlie Parker, without a firm identity of his own. However, from the evidence of these early Stitt recordings -- gathered together into a three-CD box -- the first part of the rap doesn't quite ring true, though the second remains an open question. Stitt may have shared an occasional rhetorical

Overview

The rap on Sonny Stitt is that he was little more than an imitator of Charlie Parker, without a firm identity of his own. However, from the evidence of these early Stitt recordings -- gathered together into a three-CD box -- the first part of the rap doesn't quite ring true, though the second remains an open question. Stitt may have shared an occasional rhetorical turn or blindingly fast run with Bird -- most tellingly on "S`Wonderful" -- but definitely not his entire style. You can hear plenty of Lester Young influences on the tracks where he plays tenor sax, and many of the ballads preview the soulful inflections that would flourish when he joined the soul-jazz movement in the '60s. Moreover, aware of the Bird backlash, Stitt recorded the majority of these tracks on the tenor, with occasional sessions on the baritone and finally, about two-thirds of the way through the set, on alto. What we don't hear at this point in his career is a truly individual voice; at times, when he and Gene Ammons are dueling on tenors, it's difficult to tell the difference between them upon casual listening. Not only are Stitt's own sessions included in this thorough survey, but also those where he was a co-leader with Ammons and Bud Powell, and a sometimes-non-soloing sideman for Ammons, J.J. Johnson, and the obscure Billy Eckstine-wannabe vocalist Teddy Williams. Above all, this box is a revealing look at the beginnings of the Prestige label just before Bob Weinstock learned how to exploit the potential of LP with open-ended blowing sessions. All of these tracks -- including those designated as Parts 1 and 2 -- were recorded to fit on a single side of a 10" 78 rpm record, as was still the custom of the time, and the neighborhood jukeboxes were definitely a target. Hence we hear Stitt not just as a high-minded -- if by necessity, heavily self-edited -- bebopper, but also as a participant in de facto period pop and R&B sessions. There are even some novelty numbers that tend to be ignored by history (how about a title like "Who Threw the Sleeping Pills in Rip Van Winkle's Coffee?" -- with group vocals!). Even deep in the bop era, jazz musicians still made gestures toward whatever happened to be selling to the masses, voluntarily or not. Although there are no unreleased tunes or outtakes, several tracks make their first CD appearances here, and three (including the notorious "Van Winkle") are being heard for the first time since the 78 era.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/25/2006
Label:
Prestige
UPC:
0888072300439
catalogNumber:
330043
Rank:
87350

Related Subjects

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Afternoon in Paris
  2. Afternoon in Paris
  3. Elora
  4. Elora
  5. Teapot
  6. Teapot
  7. Blue Mode
  8. Blue Mode
  9. All God's Chillun Got Rhythm
  10. Sonny Side
  11. Bud's Blues
  12. Sunset
  13. Strike Up the Band
  14. Strike Up the Band
  15. I Want to Be Happy
  16. Taking a Chance on Love
  17. Fine and Dandy
  18. Fine and Dandy
  19. Avalon
  20. Later
  21. Ain't Misbehavin'
  22. Mean to Me
  23. Stairway to the Stars
  24. Bye Bye
  25. Let It Be

Disc 2

  1. Blues Up and Down
  2. Blues Up and Down
  3. Blues Up and Down
  4. You Can Depend on Me
  5. You Can Depend on Me
  6. Touch of the Blues
  7. Dumb Woman Blues
  8. Chabootie
  9. Who Threw the Sleeping Pills in Rip Van Winkle's Coffee?
  10. Gravy (Aka Walkin')
  11. Easy Glide
  12. Count Every Star
  13. Nice Work If You Can Get It
  14. There Will Never Be Another You
  15. Blazin'
  16. Back in Your Own Back Yard
  17. Sweet Jennie Lou
  18. La Vie en Rose
  19. Seven Eleven
  20. To Think You've Chosen Me
  21. After You've Gone
  22. Our Very Own
  23. 'S Wonderful
  24. Stringin' the Jug
  25. Nevertheless (I'm in Love with You)

Disc 3

  1. Jeepers Creepers
  2. Imagination
  3. Cherokee
  4. 'Round About One A.M.
  5. Jug
  6. Wow
  7. Blue and Sentimental
  8. Liza (All the Clouds'll Roll Away)
  9. Can't We Be Friends
  10. New Blues Up and Down
  11. The Thrill of Your Kiss
  12. If the Moon Turns Green
  13. P.S. I Love You
  14. This Can't Be Love
  15. Down with It
  16. For the Fat Man
  17. Splinter
  18. Confession'
  19. Undecided
  20. (It Will Have to Do) Until the Real Thing Comes Along
  21. Because of Rain
  22. Charmine
  23. Cool Mambo
  24. Sonny Sounds
  25. Blue Mambo
  26. Stitt's It

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Sonny Stitt   Primary Artist,Alto Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Gene Ammons   Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Vocals
Jo Jones   Drums
Duke Jordan   Piano
Bud Powell   Piano
Max Roach   Drums
Matthew Gee   Trombone
Tommy Potter   Bass
Clarence "Sleepy" Anderson   Piano
Art Blakey   Drums
Nelson Boyd   Bass
Bennie Green   Trombone
John Houston   Piano
John Hunt   Trumpet
J.J. Johnson   Trombone
Junior Mance   Piano
Earl May   Bass
Curly Russell   Bass
Ernie Shepard   Bass
Teddy Stewart   Drums
Shadow Wilson   Drums
Gene Wright   Bass
Wesley Landers   Drums
Bill Massey   Trumpet
Charles Bateman   Piano
Joe Newman Quartet   Trumpet
Larry Townsend   Vocals
Humberto Morales   Timbales
John Richard Lewis   Piano
Eli Dabney   Trombone
Gene Ammons-Sonny Stitt Band   Track Performer
Teddy Williams   Vocals

Technical Credits

George Gershwin   Composer
Jolson   Composer
Sonny Stitt   Composer
Matthew Gee   Composer
Jimmy Mundy   Composer
Ray Noble   Composer
Cal Massey   Composer
Vincent Youmans   Composer
Richard Rodgers   Composer
Johnny Burke   Composer
Irving Caesar   Composer
Ira Gershwin   Composer
Lorenz Hart   Composer
Mitchell Parish   Composer
Frank Signorelli   Composer
James Van Heusen   Composer
Harry Warren   Composer
Bob Weinstock   Audio Production,Original Session Supervision
Victor Young   Composer
Bernie Hanighen   Composer
Jack Elliott   Composer
Matty Malneck   Composer
Jamie Putnam   Art Direction
Irving Gordon   Composer
Sammy Gallop   Composer
Bruno Coquatrix   Composer
Walter Jurmann   Composer
Erno Rapee   Composer
Teddy Williams   Composer
Harvey Pekar   Liner Notes

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