Monday, September 11, 2006

That other Sonny

My heart is pounding, I kid you not. I am shaking my head. I smile. Then laugh. I am listening to Sonny Stitt solo on "Love Walked In" from disk one of "The Complete Roost Sonny Stitt Studio Sessions," Mosaic, which arrived today.

The purest sound this side of Charlie Parker, with whom he was often compared, to his annoyance. The ballad following, "If You Could See Me Now," drenched in flawless soul, does nothing to quell my excitement. In command of the horn and flood of ideas, "Come Rain or Come Shine" could, in fact, be Bird. He might not have liked the comparison, but it was, at least at this juncture, 1955, an apt one, and no insult.

However, while he may have played like Bird, even used some of Bird's phrasing, he sounds like himself, some Parker in there, yes, and Coleman Hawkins, Johnny Hodges and Lester Young, but mostly Sonny Stitt.

And then there are the people playing with him, J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding, Joe Newman, Hank Jones, Oscar Pettiford and Charles Mingus, Papa Jo Jones ... and that's just on disk one. If all nine disks are like this I'll be one happy dude for the rest of the month. (I'm not eating this in one sitting, this is for savoring.)

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