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CD/LP/Track Review

Sonny Stitt/Don Patterson: Legends of Acid Jazz Vol. Two

By Published: February 1, 1999


Legends of Acid Jazz: Sonny Stitt/Don Patterson Vol. 2 is misnamed for at least a couple of reasons. Sax man Sonny Stitt (1924-82) and organist Don Patterson (1936-88) both had earlier releases in Prestige's Acid Jazz series...but not together. And the two albums from September 1968 reproduced here in their entirety, have nothing whatsoever to do with what has come to be known acid jazz. They're not really even soul jazz. Worse, they're not very memorable either.

The more interesting of the two, organist Don Patterson's ironically-titled Funk You!, is a straight bop date featuring Stitt's alto or tenor combined with Charles McPherson's alto, Pat Martino's guitar and Billy James's drums ("Want funk?" they seem to be asking. "Too bad."). They cover Sonny Rollins's "Airegin," a standard, three originals by Patterson and one by Stitt.

Stitt's Soul Electricity! was recorded the very next day with a similar group without McPherson and Billy Bulter in place of Pat Martino. Here, Stitt plugs in his Varitone saxophones and performs some of the most boring and lugubrious covers of done-to-death standards like "Stella by Starlight," "Bye Bye Blackbird," "Over the Rainbow" and "Strike up the Band." Stitt, who could never transform the Varitone the way Eddie Harris did, actually sounds sickly here - as if the music is dying on its way to the listener.

Both Stitt and Patterson have sounded far more enthused and interesting elsewhere.

Songs:Ratio and Proportion; Airegin; Little Angie; My Man String; Funk in ¾; It's You Or No One; All The Things You Are; Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?); P.S. I Love You; Stella By Starlight; Bye Bye Blackbird; Over The Rainbow; Candy; Strike Up the Band.

Players:Sonny Stitt: alto, tenor and Varitone saxophones; Don Patterson: organ; Charles McPherson: alto sax; Pat Martino, Billy Butler: guitar; Billy James: drums.

Record Label: Prestige Records

Style: Funk/Groove



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