Sonny Stitt Quartet: Sonny Stitt (alto & tenor saxophones); Jimmy Jones (piano); Ray Brown (bass); Jo Jones (drums).
Recorded at Fine Sound, New York, New York on September 14, 1956. Originally
released on Verve (8219).
Personnel: Sonny Stitt (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone); Jimmy Jones (piano); Jo Jones (drums).
Liner Note Author: Nat Hentoff.
Recording information: Fine Sound, New York, NY (09/14/1956).
Sonny Stitt was so closely identified with Charlie Parker on the alto that even when he played tenor, his style was of the quicker-than-lightning variety with all the notes he could pack in a phrase in his soloing. Which makes listening to him, for all but the most ardent bebop fans, an endurance contest no matter how agile he was. Here, in a 1956 session with Ray Brown and Jo and Jimmy Jones backing him, there is some tempering of the maelstrom that Stitt conjured up on every bandstand. Half the program is ballads, including "The Stars Fell on Alabama," a gorgeous "Body & Soul," and "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea." While these cuts show an uncharacteristic restraint from Stitt, the midtempo tunes, such as "Down Home Blues," "Alone Together," and "If I Had You," still reveal his insistence on streaking everything into the blue despite a rhythm section that wishes to hold the tunes within recognizable tempos. It's no problem for Stitt; he just plays twice or three times as fast. This is a good session, but like all of Stitt's records, wears thin after about six cuts. ~ Thom Jurek