138

Sonny Stitt & Don Patterson: The Boss Men

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Fruitful partnerships in jazz are one the principal ways both the music and the musicians stay creatively vital. Having a close colleague to riff off of and goad on keeps even an art form based on improvisation from going stale. Stitt and Patterson shared just such a relationship. The saxophonist and the organist teamed up on over a dozen dates together in the late 60s, frequently with drummer James in tow. This Prestige two-fer collects two of their early meetings: the Stitt-led Nightcrawler and The Boss Men ostensibly helmed by Patterson. Tacked on to beef-up the disc’s running time are two more tracks from another Stitt album, Shangri-La, which finds the bop doyen trading up for tenor.

The two primary sessions were waxed only months apart and their proximity carries over into continuity between songbooks. Blues-based originals and a handful of standards round out the crop of tunes and the trio wastes no time in harvesting them. “All God’s Chillun Got Rhythm” kicks the disc off at a brisk clip over James racing cymbal fire. The drummer tosses in a few martial drum breaks at the close punctuating Stitt’s smooth toned melodic declarations. One of the immediately audible aspects of this errant trio is their reverence for space and thematic flexibility. While several of the tunes traffic in rapid tempos nothing ever seems rushed. Stitt’s a venerated veteran and he knows it, taking the changes with a diplomatic amiability that proves a model of self-assurance and pacing. His alto positively sings in points and it’s a true joy to hear him blowing so effusively in such economical setting.

Whether soloing or filling in the chordal cracks around his partners’ Patterson is similarly confident. His glimmering lines sport a slippery weightlessness at odds with the stereotypical heavy-handed, lead-footed organists of the era. The airy, but acrobatic reading of “Tangerine” serves as a strong example of his willingness to forego theatrics in favor of supportive swing. James is at times a basher, striking his skins with a strident urgency, as on But more often he slides easily into an accompanist’s role sculpting syncopated grooves and soothing brush patterns with equal alacrity. Stitt’s switch to tenor on the last two tracks is seamless and trio misses nary a beat in applying the new formula. The Prestige brass and listeners alike recognized the players shared affinity and while these sessions are just two of many the trio took part in over the years they are each representative of the kind of creative sparks usually kicked up at each encounter.

Fantasy on the web: http://www.fantasyjazz.com


Track Listing: All God

Personnel: Sonny Stitt- alto & tenor saxophones; Don Patterson- organ; Billy James- drums. Recorded: September 21 & December 28, 1965; March 19, 1964, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

| Record Label: Prestige Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Together, As One" CD/LP/Track Review Together, As One
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "At This Time..." CD/LP/Track Review At This Time...
by Budd Kopman
Published: May 11, 2016
Read "Just Get In" CD/LP/Track Review Just Get In
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "Steeped" CD/LP/Track Review Steeped
by John Eyles
Published: October 20, 2016
Read "Live at Club Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Club Helsinki
by Doug Collette
Published: January 15, 2017
Read "Two Of A Kind" CD/LP/Track Review Two Of A Kind
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 30, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!