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Sonny Stitt: Goin

C. Michael Bailey By

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Goin’ Down Slow was recorded during the same period as Bobby Timmons’ Orchestra and Trio, both recordings made in the 1970s to appeal to '70s sensibilities. That it is unfair to compare these recordings by today’s or today’s retro-sensibilities goes without saying. But nothing takes the grease out of hard bop faster than strings and other ornamentations, particularly on a blues. This certainly almost destroyed the spirit of Timmons, and it has the same hard swing at Sonny Stitt on what was previously released as Goin’ Down Slow (Prestige 10048, 1972).

There is no greater example of pure musicianship prevailing over shoddy production than Stitt’s own "Miss Ann, Lisa, Sue, and Sadie." Arranged by none other than the great Thad Jones, strings are added and detract from what should be a low-down, gutbucket blues that should smell of Scotch whiskey and cigarettes rather than clove cigars and White Shoulders. In spite of the impediment of poor production, "Miss Ann, Lisa, Sue, and Sadie" is executed with perfect conflict and tension. It is not until one has listened to seven minutes of the 13-minute piece that Stitt emerges, like a god, and blow the blues better than the man to whom Stitt is most often compared, Charlie Parker.



Hank Jones provides the perfect piano comps on these pieces while Billy Butler is more than competent at guitar. But like Bobby Timmons Orchestra and Trio, the small group recordings are where Stitt shines. The rhythm section of Hampton Hawes, Reggie Johnson, and Lenny McBrowne support Stitt on a majority of his sleek compositions in a context most suitable for the composer's expression. The earthiness of "Backdoor" and intelligence of & quot;Speculation" highlight this very neglected talent.



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Track Listing: Miss Ann; Where Is Love; Living With Out You; Goin

Personnel: Sonny Stitt-Saxophones and A Cast Of Thousands.

Title: Goin | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Prestige Records


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