Sonny Stitt

How High the Moon

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This is a 1998 CD reissue guaranteed to frustrate completists. Rather than bring back a complete session or two, the CD has "highlights" from three vintage Sonny Stitt dates owned by Chess and originally put out by Argo and Cadet. Five of the ten numbers cut at a superb 1958 quartet date with pianist Barry Harris (Burnin'), four of the six selections from a rare meeting with tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims (Inter-action) and four of the seven performances from a more routine encounter with trombonist Bennie Green and organist Bobby Buster (My Main Man) are included. The music is generally quite good (particularly "Koko," "How High the Moon," "Lonesome Road" and "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes"), and Stitt plays eight songs on tenor and five on alto, showing off his solid sense of swing and his command of the bebop vocabulary. One just wishes the music had been reissued more coherently.

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