Sonny Stitt

Blows the Blues

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Sonny Stitt led a number of excellent record dates in 1959, especially at the end of the year when he produced three LPs for Verve over a span of three sessions with pianist Lou Levy, bassist Leroy Vinnegar, and drummer Mel Lewis. Playing alto sax throughout this album, Stitt hardly sounds like a Charlie Parker clone, something that unfortunately was a frequent claim by tin-eared critics throughout a fair portion of his career. The music includes several potent originals, especially "Hymnal Blues" (which is based on an old hymn) and the slow, powerful "Morning After Blues." Even an old warhorse like "Frankie and Johnnie" (which actually dates back to the early 1800s, according to liner note writer Leonard Feather) sounds fresh in the quartet's hands, with great solos by Stitt, Levy, and Vinnegar.

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