Track Selection: Alone Together
(Note. apologies, the closing bars of the track terminate abruptly. The track will be re-ripped when I next have acces to my vinyl)
Sonny Stitt (as, ts) Jimmy Jones (p) Ray Brown (b) Jo Jones (d) recorded NYC, September 14, 1956
AllAboutJazz devotes a good amount of space to this record, which I will distill to the essentials, or read the full review here
“…Sonny Stitt was not one of the geniuses, nor one of the innovators. Rather, he took the complex language of Charlie Parker and created a syntax and rhetoric that the rest of us could understand. Consummate saxophone playing by a musician driven by a need for completeness and perfection… he manages to construct logically complete, emotionally satisfying solos with a beginning, middle and end, time and time again.
Just listen to what he does with “Alone Together”—first on tenor, then switching horns and taking the tune out with another textbook solo on alto.
So there you have it. My track selection. Beautiful playing, time better spent listening than discussing the merits of this greatest “Parker disciple”
Vinyl: UK Columbia 33CX 10114 release of US Verve MGV 8219. Mono.
Supervised by Norman Granz, and manufactured in the UK by EMI of Hayes, Middlesex. “Middlesex” . Not quite as urban-hiphop cool sounding as NooJoisy. The name is derived from its inhabitants back in the year 700, the “middle-saxons”. (And there was you thinking it had something to do with sex) I grew up in Middlesex, but for unrelated reasons, the county was abolished in 1965, and remains only an optional postal town name for addresses. By one of those odd coincidences, there is county of Middlesex in New Jersey and as far as I know there are no plans to abolish it. Not that this has anything to do with Sonny Stitt.
Where was I, ah yes, pressed at the EMI Hayes record pressing plant, the last of the great manufacturing record plants still working today. Take a nice guided tour of the plant and an excursion into the mechanics of record pressing. Not that this has anything precisely to do with Sonny Stitt. The EMI pressing sounds very good nevertheless. The original recording is on Verve, hence the trumpeter logo beneath the Columbia label. I have very few EMI pressings so not much to judge it against, but like vintages, 1956 was a good year for record pressings.
Sonny doesn’t seem to pull the trophy-hunters, to judge by the very reasonable price put on his records. This one set me back around $20, which a nice price for a 1956 original UK pressing in Excellent condition. Everyone seems to mark Stitt down as a Charlie Parker copyist, while I just enjoy listening to his playing. Suits me, as I think he’s great.
Rollins, Coltrane, Bird, Miles… Sometimes originality and innovation can be over-valued. From time to time my bosses sent me on Leadership Skills and Leadership Development courses, like what the world needed was more and better Leadership. I concluded, at the end of the day, the biggest problem in organisations was the poor quality of Followership. Not an accusation you could level at Sonny Stitt.