Sonny Stitt: Blues for Pres, Sweets, Ben and All the Other Funky Ones


Blues for Pres, Sweets, Ben and All the Other Funky Ones


Sonny Stitt (tenor sax)


Sits in with the Oscar Peterson Trio (Verve 12182-02)

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Sonny Stitt (tenor sax), Oscar Peterson (piano ), Ray Brown (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums).

Composed by Sonny Stitt


Recorded: Paris, France, May 18, 1959


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

Sonny Stitt was in prime form during his 1959 recording session with the Oscar Peterson Trio, perhaps partly because of the planned nature of the set, as opposed to a totally spur-of-the-moment selection of overplayed tunes. Sonny pays tribute to Charlie Parker with "Au Privave" and "Scrapple from the Apple," to Count Basie, Ben Webster, and Lester Young with "Moten Swing," and sums up his salute to "the fine funky ones: Bird, Pres, Sweets, Ben, Louis, Basie and those," with the original composition spotlighted here. This was the last time Stitt would record with Peterson, and the two monster technicians subdue their egos and work in highly effective accord, anchored by the responsive, classic rhythm team of Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen.

Stitt's on tenor for this track, but while it allows him some distance from his ever-present Parker influence on alto, he still sounds very little like Young or Webster. Instead, saxmen like Gene Ammons, Wardell Gray and Paul Gonsalves come to mind as Stitt plays the Kansas City Swing / jump blues theme and navigates his relatively old-school, riffing solo, with his usual intricate bop vocabulary kept mostly under wraps. Peterson in his solo utilizes a lissome touch of the George Shearing variety, as well as sparse Basie-derived patterns, in order to retain the reverent approach initiated by Stitt. Brown and Thigpen in turn drive the action, the flawless drummer having only recently joined Peterson, with whom he'd remain for the next seven years. All this is heard with crystal clarity thanks to the superb remastering of Kevin Reeves.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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