Full performer name: Sonny Stitt/Bud Powell/J.J. Johnson.
Personnel: Sonny Stitt (tenor saxophone); Bud Powell (piano); J.J. Johnson (trombone); John Lewis (piano); Nelson Boyd, Curly Russell (bass); Max Roach (drums).
Tracks 1-4 recorded on December 11, 1949. Tracks 5-9 recorded on January 26, 1950. Tracks 10-17 recorded on October 17, 1949. Originally released on Prestige (7024). Includes liner notes by Mark Gardner and Ira Gitler.
Three classic Sonny Stitt sessions from 1949-50 are heard here in full. Stitt, who had been out of action due to his "personal problems," not only made a full-fledged comeback on these dates but debuted on (and stuck exclusively to) tenor rather than playing alto, where he was being assailed as a Charlie Parker imitator. He is featured on eight titles from a pair of quartet dates with pianist Bud Powell (who himself is in top form), bassist Curly Russell, and drummer Max Roach. In addition, Stitt is a sideman on a quintet outing headed by trombonist J.J. Johnson and also including pianist John Lewis, bassist Nelson Boyd, and Roach. Together the latter band performs three of Johnson's originals plus the original version of Lewis' "Afternoon in Paris"; all four titles are heard in two versions apiece. Highly recommended for all serious bop collections. ~ Scott Yanow