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Night Letter

Sonny Stitt

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Album Review

Two of Sonny Stitt's rarer Prestige LP's are combined together and reissued in full on this single CD. He jams on three standards and three basic originals (four on tenor and two on alto) in 1963 with organist Jack McDuff, bassist Leonard Gaskin and drummer Herbie Lovelle; "Sunday" and "Love Nest" are standouts. The later date finds Stitt on an electrified tenor (called the Varitone) which he often used in the late '60s. His distinctive tone mostly survives and he is in excellent form on boppish tunes and originals playing with a quartet that also includes organist Gene Ludwig, the young guitarist Pat Martino and drummer Randy Gelispie. Stitt recorded many records in his career so this CD is not quite essential but his fans should enjoy the above-average effort.


Born: 02 February 1924 in Boston, MA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Charlie Parker has had many admirers and his influence can be detected in numerous styles, but few have been as avid a disciple as Sonny Stitt. There was almost note-for-note imitation in several early Stitt solos, and the closeness remained until Stitt began de-emphasizing the alto in favor of the tenor, on which he artfully combined the influences of Parker and Lester Young. Stitt gradually developed his own sound and style, though he was never far from Parker on any alto solo. A wonderful blues...
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