Google+ Badge BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY
Thursday, 17 October 2013
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : AFRICAN AMERICAN " SONNY STITT " HE CHANGE FROM ALTO TO TENOR SAX ! AND THATS WHEN HE DEVELOP HIS OWN STYLE : A WONDERFUL BLUES AND BALLAD PLAYER : GOES INTO THE " HALL OF BLACK GENIUS "
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY Charlie Parker has had many admirers and his influence can be detected in numerous styles, but few have been as avid a disciple as Sonny Sitt. There was almost note-for-note imitation in several early Stitt solos, and the closeness remained until Stitt began de-emphasizing the alto in favor of the tenor, on which he artfully combined the influences of Parker and Lester Young. Stitt gradually developed his own sound and style, though he was never far from Parker on any alto solo. A wonderful blues and ballad player whose approach influenced John Coltrane, Stitt could rip through an up-tempo bebop stanza, then turn around and play a shivering, captivating ballad. He was an alto saxophonist in Tiny Bradshaw's band during the early '40s, then joined Billy Eckstine's seminal big band in 1945, playing alongside other emerging bebop stars like Gene Ammons and Dexter Gordon. Stitt later played in Dizzy Gillespie's big band and sextet. He began on tenor and baritone in 1949, and at times was in a two-tenor unit with Ammons. He recorded with Bud Powell and J.J. Johnson for Prestige in 1949, then did several albums on Prestige, Argo, and Verve in the '50s and '60s. Stitt led many combos in the '50s, and re-joined Gillespie for a short period in the late '50s. After a brief stint with Miles Davis in 1960, he reunited with Ammons and for a while was in a three-tenor lineup with James Moody. During the '60s, Stitt also recorded for Atlantic, cutting the transcendent Stitt Plays Bird, which finally addressed the Parker question in epic fashion. He continued heading bands, though he joined the Giants of Jazz in the early '70s. This group included Gillespie, Art Blakey, Kai Winding, Thelonious Monk, and Al McKibbon. Stitt did more sessions in the '70s for Cobblestone, Muse, and others, among them another definitive date, Tune Up. He continued playing and recording in the early '80s, recording for Muse, Sonet, and Who's Who in Jazz. He suffered a heart attack and died in 1982.
Edward "Sonny" Stitt (born Edward Boatner, Jr., February 2, 1924 – July 22, 1982 was an American jazz saxophonist of the bebop/hard bopidiom. He was one of the best-documented saxophonists of his generation, recording over 100 albums. He was nicknamed the "Lone Wolf" by jazz critic Dan Morgenstern, in reference to his relentless touring and devotion to jazz.
Edward Boatner, Jr. was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up in Saginaw, Michigan. He had a musical background; his father, Edward Boatner, was a baritone singer, composer and college music professor, his brother was a classically trained pianist, and his mother was a piano teacher. Boatner was soon adopted by another family, the Stitts, who gave him his new surname. He later began calling himself "Sonny".
In 1943, Stitt first met Charlie Parker, and as he often later recalled, the two men found that their styles had an extraordinary similarity that was partly coincidental and not merely due to Stitt's emulation. Stitt's improvisations were more melodic and less dissonant than those of Parker. Stitt's earliest recordings were made in 1945 with Stan Getz and Dizzy Gillespie. He had also played in some swing bands, though he mainly played in bop bands. Stitt was featured in Tiny Bradshaw's big band in the early forties. Stitt replaced Charlie Parker in Dizzy Gillespie's band in 1945.
Stitt played alto saxophone in Billy Eckstine's big band alongside future bop pioneers Dexter Gordon and Gene Ammons from 1945 until 1956, when he started to play tenor saxophone more frequently, in order to avoid being referred to as a Charlie Parker imitator. Later on, he played with Gene Ammons and Bud Powell. Stitt spent time in a Lexington prison between 1948–49 for selling narcotics.
Stitt, when playing tenor saxophone, seemed to break free from some of the criticism that he was imitating Charlie Parker's style, although it appears in the instance with Ammons above that the availability of the larger instrument was a factor. Indeed, Stitt began to develop a far more distinctive sound on tenor. He played with other bop musicians Bud Powell and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, a fellow tenor with a distinctly tough tone in comparison to Stitt, in the 1950s and recorded a number of sides for Prestige Records label as well as albums for Argo, Verve and Roost. Stitt experimented with Afro-Cuban jazz in the late 1950s, and the results can be heard on his recordings for Roost and Verve, on which he teamed up with Thad Jones and Chick Corea for Latin versions of such standards as "Autumn Leaves."
Stitt joined Miles Davis briefly in 1960, and recordings with Davis' quintet can be found only in live settings on the tour of 1960. Concerts in Manchester and Paris are available commercially and also a number of concerts (which include sets by the earlier quintet with John Coltrane) on the record Live at Stockholm (Dragon), all of which featured Wynton Kelly, Jimmy Cobb and Paul Chambers. However, Miles fired Stitt due to the excessive drinking habit he had developed, and replaced him with Hank Mobley. Later in the 1960s, Stitt paid homage to one of his main influences, Charlie Parker, on the album Stitt Plays Bird, which features Jim Hall on guitar.
He recorded a number of memorable records with his friend and fellow saxophonist Gene Ammons, interrupted by Ammons' own imprisonment for narcotics possession. The records recorded by these two saxophonists are regarded by many as some of both Ammons and Stitt's best work, thus the Ammons/Stitt partnership went down in posterity as one of the best duelling partnerships in jazz, alongside Zoot Sims and Al Cohn, and Johnny Griffin with Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis. Stitt would venture into soul jazz, and he recorded with fellow tenor saxophonist Booker Ervin in 1964 on the Soul People album. Stitt also recorded with Duke Ellington alumnus Paul Gonsalves in 1963 for Impulse! on the Salt And Pepper album in 1963. Around that time he also appeared regularly at Ronnie Scott's in London, a live 1964 encounter with Ronnie Scott, The Night Has A Thousand Eyes, eventually surfaced, and another in 1966 with resident guitarist Ernest Ranglin and British tenor saxophonist Dick Morrissey. Stitt was one of the first jazz musicians to experiment with an electric saxophone (the instrument was called a Varitone), as heard on the albums What's New in 1966 and Parallel-A-Stitt in 1967.
In the 1970s, Stitt slowed his recording output slightly, and in 1972, he produced another classic, Tune Up, which was and still is regarded by many jazz critics, such as Scott Yanow, as his definitive record. Indeed, his fiery and ebullient soloing was quite reminiscent of his earlier playing. He also recorded another album with Varitone, Just The Way It Was - Live At The Left Bank in 1971 which was released in 2000.
Stitt joined the all-star group Giants of Jazz (which also featured Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Kai Winding and bassist Al McKibbon) and made albums for Atlantic Records,Concord Records and Emarcy Records. His last recordings were made in Japan. In 1982, Stitt suffered a heart attack, and he died on July 22 in Washington, D.C..