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Peter Friedman

Sonny Stitt - The Champ

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Sonny Stitt recorded with such frequency that some of his very good sessions can easily get passed over. It is generally true that Stitt's quartet sessions  with Barry Harris on piano - "Tune Up", "Constellation" & "12" - are very highly regarded.

"The Champ", a quintet date  has a somewhat different lineup. Joe Newman is on trumpet and plays as well if not better than I have ever heard him. The rhythm section has 3 fine bebop oriented musicians. Duke Jordan on piano and Sam Jones on bass are long established masters of this music. Roy Brooks on drums,  has received less acclaim than the others, but in my opinion was among the very best Bebop and Hard Bop drummers.

Sonny plays tenor on 4 of the six tunes. Everyone here is in top form and have produced a very swinging and delightful jazz recording that I readily recommend to those who enjoy this style of music. 

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Is anyone else seeing three identical posts of this? 

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Problem fixed.

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When was it recorded ? 70´s ?

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2 hours ago, Gheorghe said:

When was it recorded ? 70´s ?

1973

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R-3149793-1318074279.jpeg.jpg

Hm, I enjoy all of Stitt's Cobblestone and Muse albums ... but the one with Newman has so far never been among the top favourites. I have the edition above ... luvly 32Jazz design ;) 

There's one with Ricky Ford and one with Jimmy Heath - that later I really like:

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Got it as part of an ugly Camden 4-on-2-disc set (compiling two in quartet w/Barry Harris, the one with Ford and the one with Heath):

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https://www.discogs.com/de/Sonny-Stitt-Constellation/release/9871475

I love that double disc set - it was my first encounter with Sonny Stitt, and the first time I heard "Red Top" (included on "My Buddy", his Gene Ammons tribute)

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4 hours ago, king ubu said:

There's one with Ricky Ford and one with Jimmy Heath - that later I really like:

R-2434126-1311564600.jpeg.jpg

Got it as part of an ugly Camden 4-on-2-disc set (compiling two in quartet w/Barry Harris, the one with Ford and the one with Heath):

R-9871475-1488049716-9442.jpeg.jpg

https://www.discogs.com/de/Sonny-Stitt-Constellation/release/9871475

I love that double disc set - it was my first encounter with Sonny Stitt, and the first time I heard "Red Top" (included on "My Buddy", his Gene Ammons tribute)

I have that Camden release (the Pepper Adams one is worth picking up too) and while it has some great music, I wish Jimmy Heath had left his soprano sax & flute back at home that day. :)

My only real complaint with some of these 70's Muse dates is that the bass is often badly recorded.

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Spinning this vinyl right now:

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I'd love a Mosaic of these albums, although I hate the sound Paul Goodman made - no bottom, drums way down in the mix without a trace of bass drum, piano on one side - extreme right on this album. 

I think I'll try to find a copy of that Camden set.

33 minutes ago, Kevin Bresnahan said:

My only real complaint with some of these 70's Muse dates is that the bass is often badly recorded.

Here ya go!

37 minutes ago, Kevin Bresnahan said:

.....  (the Pepper Adams one is worth picking up too) ....

How's that one titled? Can't find it on discogs.

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Stitts Tune Up is among my desert island records. So incredibly good. Indeed a nice idea: a Sonny Stitt Muse Mosaic...

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1 hour ago, mikeweil said:

How's that one titled? Can't find it on discogs.

Pepper Adams - The Master

Image result for pepper adams the master

There's a copy on ebay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Pepper-Adams-The-Master-2-CD/254155940859?epid=1140409826&hash=item3b2cdfe3fb:g:nowAAOSwSTpbs8pW

Discogs has a lot of those Camden Deluxe compilations but not the Pepper Adams one: https://www.discogs.com/label/122720-Camden-Deluxe

I have one other, Clifford Jordan's Highest Mountain https://www.discogs.com/Clifford-Jordan-Highest-Mountain/release/4046245

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18 hours ago, Pim said:

Stitts Tune Up is among my desert island records. So incredibly good. Indeed a nice idea: a Sonny Stitt Muse Mosaic...

If you like Tune Up, I'd recommend End Game Brilliance, which is a two fer of Tune Up and Constellation. 

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1 hour ago, Brad said:

If you like Tune Up, I'd recommend End Game Brilliance, which is a two fer of Tune Up and Constellation. 

Thanks Brad but I own both of these wonderful records on Muse cds.

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A vinyl cutout of Constellation ca. 1974 was my introduction to Stitt.

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All these glowing comments about a number of other Sonny Stitt sessions is, in a way, the reason I wrote about "The Champ". I agree that some, though not all, of the recordings mentioned are especially good and some rank as my favorite Stitt albums.

But I believe that "The Champ" has been somewhat overlooked, perhaps because it is not quite up to the level of "Tune Up' or "Constellation". When I recently listened to "The Champ", I was slightly surprised at just how good it is. A CD/LP does not have to be one of the 2 or three very best by an artist to be very good and, in this case I believe it deserves greater recognition.

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1 hour ago, felser said:

A vinyl cutout of Constellation ca. 1974 was my introduction to Stitt.

I think Tune Up was my introduction. Hard to get better than that. 

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Stitt's Muses had been getting good reviews until, one day...

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Wonder what the date was of those reviews? I suspect they were many decades ago.

I have discovered over many years that certain recordings I once liked have lost their appeal.

And likewise some recordings I thought to be just Ok, have gained in appeal for me. My appreciation for "The Champ" is an example of the latter.

 

 

 

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My guess is that the review appeared on Nov. 7, 1974 (since the Champ was recorded in April '73).

I just listened to it for the first time in years. I think it's an enjoyable date,  perhaps not Sonny's most inspired record, but decent enough, for sure. I don't detect the issues the Mr. Litweiler raised in his review, but maybe I just didn't listen closely enough. I rather liked what Joe Newman brought to the session.  

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Yep, 11.7.74. I distinctly remember reading the issue, the same issue had a Litwieler  review of two Revelation records, one by Gary Foster, the other that Relaxed Symposium thing with Warne. I also remember checking to see who wrote those reviews and seeing that it was the same guy, thinking wow, this guy really know what he likes and doesn't like, and can be really precise about it, and he did not really care for 3 of those 4 records.

Me myself, I  think that Sonny Stith made waaaaay more records than his imagination could sustain, but that's not why he made them, so hey. I will say that anything past a smallish dose of him is usually adequate for me.

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16 hours ago, JSngry said:

... I  think that Sonny Stitt made waaaaay more records than his imagination could sustain, but that's not why he made them, so hey. I will say that anything past a smallish dose of him is usually adequate for me.

(Italics added). No disrespect to SS's ability, but I agree. I own a respectable number of Stitt CDs, but no box sets.

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I do have Sonny's Bits and am glad to have it. But yeah,

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Posted (edited)

a) FWIW, in a one-artist, one-record challenge I'd take Constellation.

b) I have a ton of Stitt records but could easily reduce them to these four and be content that I have what I need:

1. Prestige recordings with Bud Powell

2. Personal Appearance

3, With the New Yorkers

4, Constellation.

c) Pound for pound, the Stitt box on Mosaic of the Roost recordings is quite rewarding -- the mid '50s material is consistently strong.

 

Edited by Mark Stryker

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21 minutes ago, Mark Stryker said:

a) FWIW, in a one-artist, one-record challenge I'd take Constellation.

Yep, me too.

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Posted (edited)

8 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Yep, me too.

I'll go further: In a one-artist, one-solo challenge, I'd take "Ray's Idea" from "Constellation." Two chorus, and 16 bars after the piano. The best of everything he had is all there is distilled form.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Mark Stryker

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