Sonny Stitt

I Remember Bird/A Tribute to Duke Ellington

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I Remember Bird/A Tribute to Duke Ellington (originally released as Sonny Stitt With Strings) combines 14 tracks on one disc from Stitt's long-out-of-print Catalyst sessions from 1977. Saxophonist Sonny Stitt was a disciple of Charlie Parker, and throughout his career released several dates that portrayed that influence in a better light, especially 1963's Stitt Plays Bird. A Tribute to Duke Ellington is the stronger effort, with Stitt employing a string section. This format works especially well on "In a Sentimental Mood," "Take the 'A' Train," "Jeep's Blues," and "Cottontail." It's not surprising that Stitt maintained the same approach to strings as Charlie Parker did a decade prior -- soaring above them rather than being held down by them. This two-fer should please both the collector and casual listener alike.

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