Sonny Stitt

The Best of the Rest

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Joel Dorn of 32 Jazz is adamant in the brief liner notes to this 1998 CD that he is finished reissuing all of what he considers to be the most significant Sonny Stitt recordings in the Muse catalog. Tune Up!, Constellation, a newly discovered live set, and The Champ were put out in full. Of Stitt's remaining six Muse albums, Dorn only considers these dozen selections (which, oddly enough, include one number from The Champ) to be worth bringing back. It is a pity that he considers most of In Style, Blues for Duke, My Buddy, and Sonny's Back to be inferior, but he is clearly inaccurate in only reissuing four selections from the two volumes titled The Last Stitt Sessions, since the altoist/tenor saxophonist was in fine form on what would be his final recordings. Taken as a whole, this single CD is a good sampling of Stitt's work, with the highlights including "I Got It Bad," "Red Top," "Bye Bye Blackbird," and "It Might as Well Be Spring" (the latter is a duet with bassist George Duvivier). The sidemen include pianists Barry Harris, Walter Davis, and Duke Jordan, bassists Duvivier and Sam Jones, drummers Jimmy Cobb, Billy Higgins, Leroy Williams, and Roy Brooks, and trumpeter Bill Hardman. Excellent music, but those listeners not owning the original LPs may wonder "Where's the rest of it?"

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