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Sonny Stitt: "Live" At The Left Bank

Jim Santella By

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The electric saxophone was a good idea that just didn’t work out. Sonny Stitt is able to play “alto,” “tenor” or a combination of the two synchronized in perfect harmony. The baritone sax effect is added to “The Shadow of Your Smile” and “Blues Up and Down.” His skills on the saxophone aren’t in the least diminished by this innovation. Stitt could play bebop with the dexterity and understanding that only a few could manage. The instrument’s sound, of course, isn’t natural. A reedy tone that blends the qualities of kazoo, pipe organ and harmonica with saxophone, Stitt’s electronic instrument still leaves no doubt that he’s playing bebop alto. Don Patterson and Billy James contribute to the session’s spirit. They’re tight. As a result, Stitt’s bop lines roll off complete and natural. The recorded sound is fine and the mood is all about intensity. Sonny Stitt could make bebop take the room by storm; even on a Sunday afternoon. No wonder Joel Dorn gets so excited about these things. Jazz took a left turn in the late 1940s when this new music hatched. Sonny Stitt was still making it work for club audiences when this was taped in 1971. Times have changed, but the excitement and wonder are still there. This “secret treasure” combines both the ferocious charm that emanated from Stitt’s horn and the ambience he created when working before an enthusiastic audience.


Track Listing: Deuces Wild; Samba de Orpheus; Who Can I Turn To?; Cry Me a River; John Brown

Personnel: Sonny Stitt- electric saxophone; Don Patterson- organ; Billy James- drums.

| Record Label: Label M | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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