Sonny Stitt

Live at the Hi-Hat, Vol. 2

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Sonny Stitt spent most of his career touring as a single, picking up rhythm sections wherever he appeared. On February 11, 1954, he was booked at the Hi-Hat in Boston and the local sidemen he came up with (pianist Dean Earl, bassist Bernie Griggs, and drummer Marquis Foster) were competent but undistinguished. That didn't matter much, though, because they were able to state basic chord changes, allowing Stitt to stretch out on standards and his riffing originals. Most unusual about this typical bebop jam is that in addition to his alto and tenor, Stitt triples on baritone (an instrument he otherwise only utilized on two songs for a Prestige date during this period). Stitt often switches horns during the brief piano spots and in fact, on a 12-minute version of "One O' Clock Jump," he takes solos on tenor, alto, and baritone. Although his flights and constant double-time passages could be predictable, Stitt's huge mental storage of ideas, song quotes, and personal licks is impressive and his fans will certainly enjoy this reasonably well-recorded set.

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