Soul Stream

Sonny Stitt in New York

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I just picked this up, and am really digging it. Question for those of you with the new Verve release - on "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea," about three minutes into the song a clicking/popping noise starts and it doesn't stop the rest of the song. Are all copies like this, or are they supposed to be like this?

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I just picked this up, and am really digging it. Question for those of you with the new Verve release - on "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea," about three minutes into the song a clicking/popping noise starts and it doesn't stop the rest of the song. Are all copies like this, or are they supposed to be like this?

Same here.

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"New York Jazz" was the first LP I bought in my life. I think it must have been 1956 or 1957, I'm not sure. Before I had heard some tunes from Stitt's work on Roost, with the Quincy Jones material. Anyway, I was around 15 years old, and SEK 27 (the price tag is still on the cover) was a hell of a lot of money those days for a teenager, equalling about US $ 3 today. Definitely this record made me a jazz fan and a Sonny Stitt admirer for life. Some hundreds of LPs later, I still count New York Jazz as one of my best records, and in any case perhaps the best Stitt has recorded. I lived in Stockholm during the 1960's, and Sonny Stitt played at Gyllene Cirkeln (the Golden Circle) in 1966 for 13 nights in a row (March 7 to 19) and I was there at his feet every night. His fellow musicians were Lars Sjösten, Roman Dylag and Tootie Heath.

JSngry's lines about Stitt in this topic were very interesting to read, and pretty much sum up my own thoughts about Sonny. Finally, "Live at the Left Bank" is mentioned a couple of times in this topic. How does this fit into the discussion?, asks an ignorant young man.

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"Live at the Left Bank" is mentioned a couple of times in this topic. How does this fit into the discussion?, asks an ignorant young man.

INSTANT PARTY!!!!

:tup:tup:tup:tup:tup:tup:tup:tup:tup:tup

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That sound sure sounds to me as if it is one of the musicians keeping time with foot or fingers. . . maybe Jo utilizing his one foot not used in the drumkit.

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I must admit that I haven't heard the album in question, but, although Stitt was a superb musician, and I enjoy hearing him every now and then, I find that a little goes a long way. He uses the same licks over and over - it's as simple as that for me.

My favorite by him is the Verve "Boss Tenors" album, with Gene Ammons. Having the other horn gives extra variety.

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I'm glad you guys are diggin' it; Lord knows I've been trying to. Maybe I'm just not a fan of lightning-quick runs (of which Sonny is one of the undisputed masters). Or maybe it's the stuff-as-many-notes-into-a-line runs on a ballad like "If I Had You." OTOH, I love the duet between his own tenor and alto on "Norman's Blues."

Not giving up on it yet; but I'm still waiting for it to grab me!

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I just picked this up, and am really digging it. Question for those of you with the new Verve release - on "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea," about three minutes into the song a clicking/popping noise starts and it doesn't stop the rest of the song. Are all copies like this, or are they supposed to be like this?

I have a Japanese Verve LP of Sonny Stitt in New York. I remember noticing that sound

on 'Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea' and being intrigued with this at the time I

got it. Thought that it might be the sound of someone's (Stitt?) tapping to the rhythm of

the music. Jazzbo seems to concur. Will have to listen to that album again. With pleasure!

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bumping this one, just because... well, because it's one of the finest comments on Sonny Stitt I've read, and I've remembered it for years... and now I found it again :)

I think the thing about Stitt that either attracts people or drives them nuts is that you pretty much know what he's going to play before he plays it. The guy didn't exactly have an unlimited vocabulary, nor was he prone to extensively variating (a Don Pullen verb) it, and that right there turns some people off.

But not me, because even though the "what" is pretty much a forgone conclusion, there's a big, at times HUGE, difference from album to album in HOW he plays it. When he's really, REALLY on, it's a total gas, because the guy could just swing you into bad health, as the old folks say, and his technique and tone were superb. Besides, the guy had the insticts of a warrior, and it's not surprising the the faster the company he kept, the more likely he was to bare his teeth and REALLY blow and actually variate that vocabulary some/lots. When he's on but not REALLY on, in that "we both know I could kill you in the blink of an eye, but let's keep it nice, ok?" mode that he was probably the master of, it's still cool, and for those same reasons, but not exactly riveting forever and ever, at least not for me. The variating becomes less important, but the groove is still good enough. But when he's on autopilot, well, if he's going to take a nap, I think I will too. We all need our rest.

I think most of the albums he made fall into that second category, but the ones that fall into the first (the various sessions w/Powell, the Dizzy/Rollins stuff, CONSTELLATION, etc) are as good as anything and better than most. Some of those in the second category (LIVE AT DJ LOUNGE, TUNE UP, a lot of the Verve stuff, etc.) have fond places in my collection. That shit swings, is soulful as you want it to be, and if no ground is broken, or even cracked, big whoop. There's a time and a place for everything. I do, however, find the "niceness" to be a facade a lot of times, and that only goes so far for my tastes. Still, it's a nice enough ride for a little while. But an autopilot Sonny Stitt record is something to avoid at all costs, for the same (hopefully obvious) reasons that anybody else's is. We ALL got better things to do with our life.

And then there's JUST THE WAY IT WAS - "LIVE" AT LEFT BANK. WHOOEEEEEE! :tup:tup:tup:tup:tup

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OK, the prosecution rests...

no no I'm defense counsel!!! even here, under somewhat dubious circumstances, Stitt's tone and rhythmic facility merit attention and praise. I've had it with horn players of all persuasions-- straight and erstwhile 'avant'-- who play slurry not as a considered choice but because they don't have the ability to do otherwise. (Compare Ornette to his epigone Jemeel Moondoc; compare Stitt on any horn to-- hah hah-- Ken Vandermark or Branford etc.) All Stitt is very good Stitt and more than enough is much better than that. Just cuz certain yokels-- not thinking of anyone in particular, rather the general condescension towards Stitt-- couldn't keep up, that shouldn't be our problem, nor should we accept less esp. when there aren't any better ideas attached to the erstwhile 'alternatives'--

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC_Ulakhdv0

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Damn - Moms done sent me to the dictionary....

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OK, the prosecution rests...

no no I'm defense counsel!!! even here, under somewhat dubious circumstances, Stitt's tone and rhythmic facility merit attention and praise. I've had it with horn players of all persuasions-- straight and erstwhile 'avant'-- who play slurry not as a considered choice but because they don't have the ability to do otherwise. (Compare Ornette to his epigone Jemeel Moondoc; compare Stitt on any horn to-- hah hah-- Ken Vandermark or Branford etc.) All Stitt is very good Stitt and more than enough is much better than that. Just cuz certain yokels-- not thinking of anyone in particular, rather the general condescension towards Stitt-- couldn't keep up, that shouldn't be our problem, nor should we accept less esp. when there aren't any better ideas attached to the erstwhile 'alternatives'--

Did Jemeel Mooondoc refuse your insistent pleading for a **** *** behind the barn.

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Thanks to Moms for bumping this. I bought 'New York jazz' in '70, didn't like it, flogged it and never looked back. It wasn't the first Stitt I bought - those were 'top brass' and 'Soul people' - and it sure wasn't the last - I've got 83 now, I see, and do agree with Moms that "more than enough is much better than that." But that's only about half his albums.

But Sonny was a bit unreliable - he'd sometimes be late for gigs, or pissed as a fart, I understand. But what he did (and Jug and Stanley T) was get out into the sticks and play in little towns that never saw a first rate jazzman from one year to the next. And he'd come back to Chicago (occasionally) or New York (usually) and go round the record labels (he didn't have a contract) and want to make a record. And everyone said yes (but BN only once), because Stitt albums were cheap to make and you could sell them. But he'd usually want to make the album with his friends, and who could blame him, working with local rhythm sections out the back? Bob Porter told me that the trick with Sonny was not to let him record with his friends but with other people, who would put him in a rather more combative mood. So 'Soul electricity' has Billy Butler on guitar (a player Porter greatly admired), 'Turn me on' and most of 'Black vibrations' have the Mod Squad - Spencer, Sparks & Idris.

One of his best is 'So doggone good', with Hampton Hawes. Some very straight bebop here but the title track (actually '(Your love is) so doggone good') is a great R&B ballad, previously done by The Whispers and at about the same time, by Ray Charles. Sonny never sounded better to me than on this number (or on 'My buddy', his tribute to Jug). Sonny never really had a sound as good as Jug (well, who did?), but on these recordings he nearly got there. He'd stopped using the varitone by then. I understand that Jug told him off about it during the 'You talk that talk' session. But I understand - because I've got 'Just the way it was - live at the Left Bank' - that it was absolutely necessary and marvellous for Sonny when he was playing with an organist. I've never heard a more exciting live jazz album than that one.

MG

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Thanks to Moms for bumping this. I bought 'New York jazz' in '70, didn't like it, flogged it and never looked back. It wasn't the first Stitt I bought - those were 'top brass' and 'Soul people' - and it sure wasn't the last - I've got 83 now, I see, and do agree with Moms that "more than enough is much better than that." But that's only about half his albums.

But Sonny was a bit unreliable - he'd sometimes be late for gigs, or pissed as a fart, I understand. But what he did (and Jug and Stanley T) was get out into the sticks and play in little towns that never saw a first rate jazzman from one year to the next. And he'd come back to Chicago (occasionally) or New York (usually) and go round the record labels (he didn't have a contract) and want to make a record. And everyone said yes (but BN only once), because Stitt albums were cheap to make and you could sell them. But he'd usually want to make the album with his friends, and who could blame him, working with local rhythm sections out the back? Bob Porter told me that the trick with Sonny was not to let him record with his friends but with other people, who would put him in a rather more combative mood. So 'Soul electricity' has Billy Butler on guitar (a player Porter greatly admired), 'Turn me on' and most of 'Black vibrations' have the Mod Squad - Spencer, Sparks & Idris.

One of his best is 'So doggone good', with Hampton Hawes. Some very straight bebop here but the title track (actually '(Your love is) so doggone good') is a great R&B ballad, previously done by The Whispers and at about the same time, by Ray Charles. Sonny never sounded better to me than on this number (or on 'My buddy', his tribute to Jug). Sonny never really had a sound as good as Jug (well, who did?), but on these recordings he nearly got there. He'd stopped using the varitone by then. I understand that Jug told him off about it during the 'You talk that talk' session. But I understand - because I've got 'Just the way it was - live at the Left Bank' - that it was absolutely necessary and marvellous for Sonny when he was playing with an organist. I've never heard a more exciting live jazz album than that one.

MG

Interesting post, MG. Thanks.

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Some other people have pretty much nailed my feeling about New York Jazz in paticular and Stitt in general.

Just a couple of additional comments. I find it frustrating to the point of being undecided if I want to keep the album or not when I hear Sonny Stitt play something inventive and exciting and then, shortly afterwards, fall into one of his series of well played but glib Bird-influenced phrases - all in the same solo. Almost like listening to some who's an entertaining b.s.er and after a while you can't tell what's the truth and what's not.

Sometimes listening to Sonny Stitt, I'm reminded of a Gene Quill story. When someone at a club said that he was imitating Charlie Parker, Quill offered him his alto and said. "Here, you imitate Charlie Parker." Quill had a certain point, but the other side of that is that if you have the facility to imitate Charlie Parker, why do it?

Reading the liner notes, I'm surprised that Verve left the following by Nat Hentoff in the liner notes:

" It is to Sonny's credit to say that at his best, he can play with a ferocity of passion and an into-the eye-of-the hurricane conception that can, as it once did at Basin Street in New York, freeze a table of musicians into a still life of open mouths and

re-awakened eyes. There are other times when he yields to the most irritating musical mannerism of his generation, the hard driving running of changes on his horn that underlines quickness of ear and firmness of chops, but is little less edifying to the spirit than RCA's electronic synthesizer. Both sides of Stitt are in evidence on this set."

Honesty in liner notes is a rare thing.

Finally, I agree with Lon and brownie that it sounds as if someone is tapping their feet during Ray Brown's solo on "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea."

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Almost like listening to some who's an entertaining b.s.er and after a while you can't tell what's the truth and what's not.

That's pretty much what making a living doing anything sounds like to me.

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I`m fortunately to live with a load of Stitt albums and like them all. :rolleyes:

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Although I can't say that I've listened more than once to all the Sonny albums I have, Tune Up, Constellation and DJ Lounge are musts and have been listened to repeatedly. DJ Lounge is just a cool album. Would have been nice to be there.

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Some of my favorite Stitt is this one:

http://www.amazon.com/Burnin-Sonny-Stitt/dp/B001Q1ROPG/ref=sr_1_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1384788050&sr=1-2&keywords=sonny+stitt+argo

In its LP form, there were no liner notes, just the same photo on front and back, and thus no personnel. Some have said that the rhythm section is Barry Harris, drummer Frank Gant, and bassist Wiliam Austin, who recorded a trio album for Argo at around this time (Harris' first, perhaps), but in fact the rhythm section is the Ramsey Lewis Trio; they're surprisingly effective too, though Lewis' solos are what one might expect. The give away is the quite distinctive bass work of El Dee Young.

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I have the orig of 'Burnin'' and it isn't how you describe it, Larry.

Lunchtime now...

MG

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Some of my favorite Stitt is this one:

http://www.amazon.com/Burnin-Sonny-Stitt/dp/B001Q1ROPG/ref=sr_1_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1384788050&sr=1-2&keywords=sonny+stitt+argo

In its LP form, there were no liner notes, just the same photo on front and back, and thus no personnel. Some have said that the rhythm section is Barry Harris, drummer Frank Gant, and bassist Wiliam Austin, who recorded a trio album for Argo at around this time (Harris' first, perhaps), but in fact the rhythm section is the Ramsey Lewis Trio; they're surprisingly effective too, though Lewis' solos are what one might expect. The give away is the quite distinctive bass work of El Dee Young

This Fresh Sound CD has some of my favorite Stitt, too.

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Right - I see Larry, the record you were talking about was 'Sonny Stitt' by Sonny Stitt - Argo 629, not 'Burnin'' - this one, apparently

$T2eC16hHJHcFFkLlvw53BRlZjTMnGw~~60_57.J

That's been reissued by Fresh Sound under the title 'Burnin'' - like this

51tZVrz8vUL._SY300_.jpg

That CD contains 'Sonny Stitt' and 'Burnin'' - which looks like this

330741068963.jpg

Pity Fresh Sound didn't use the 'Burnin'' sleeve.

MG

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There are some musicians that I can listen to straight for long periods of time. I can play 3 or 4 of that persons CDs one after another. With Sonny Stitt I find it much more satisfying to play one CD and then switch to listening to someone else.

I like Stitt's playing very much, but he is not the kind of player I want to listen to for an entire afternoon or evening.

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