Sonny Stitt Sonny Stitt

Edward “Sonny” Stitt was a quintessential saxophonist of the bebop idiom. He was also one of the most prolific saxophonists, recording over 100 records in his lifetime. He was nicknamed the “Lone Wolf” by jazz critic Dan Morgenstern, due to his relentless touring and his devotion to jazz.

Stitt was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up in Saginaw, Michigan. Stitt had a musical background; his father taught music, his brother was a classically trained pianist, and his mother was a piano teacher. His earliest recordings were from 1945, with Stan Getz and Dizzy Gillespie. He had also experienced playing in some swing bands, though he mainly played in bop bands. Stitt featured in Tiny Bradshaw's big band in the early forties.

Stitt played alto saxophone in Billy Eckstine's big band alongside future bop pioneers Dexter Gordon and Gene Ammons from 1945 until 1949, when he started to play tenor saxophone more frequently. Later on, he notably played with Gene Ammons and Bud Powell. Stitt spent time in a Lexington prison between 1948-49 on account of selling narcotics.

Stitt, when playing tenor saxophone, seemed to break free from some of the criticism that he was apeing jazz genius Charlie Parker's style. When alto saxophonist Gene Quill was criticised for playing too similar to Parker once by a jazz writer he retorted, “You try imitating Charlie Parker!” Indeed, Stitt began to develop a far more distinctive sound on tenor. He played with other bop musicians Bud Powell and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, a fellow tenor with a distinctly tough tone in comparison to Stitt, in the 1950s and recorded several albums for the burgeoning Prestige Records label as well as for Argo, Verve and Roost. Stitt's playing is said to be at its zenith on these now rare records. Stitt experimented with Afro-Cuban jazz in the late 1950s, and the results can be heard on his recordings for Roost and Verve, on which he teamed up with Thad Jones and Chick Corea for Latin versions of such standards as “Autumn Leaves.”

Read more

Tags

Photos

Albums

 

Eight Classic Albums

Milestone Records
2012

buy
Album Don't Call Me Bird! by Sonny Stitt

Don't Call Me Bird!

Fresh Sound Records
2008

buy
 

Move On Over...

Milestone Records
2007

buy
 

Sonny Stitt:...

Membran Records
2007

buy
 

Stitt's Bits: The...

Prestige Records
2006

buy
Album It's Magic by Sonny Stitt

It's Magic

Delmark Records
2006

buy

Watch

Similar Jazz Musicians

Charlie Parker Charlie Parker
saxophone, alto
Sonny Rollins Sonny Rollins
saxophone
Lester Young Lester Young
saxophone
Stan Getz Stan Getz
saxophone, tenor
Benny Golson Benny Golson
saxophone, tenor
Art Pepper Art Pepper
saxophone, alto
Zoot Sims Zoot Sims
saxophone, tenor
Johnny Griffin Johnny Griffin
saxophone, tenor
Coleman Hawkins Coleman Hawkins
saxophone, tenor
Houston Person Houston Person
saxophone, tenor
Gerry Mulligan Gerry Mulligan
saxophone, baritone
Jackie McLean Jackie McLean
saxophone, alto
Sonny Criss Sonny Criss
saxophone, alto

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and through our retail affiliations you'll support us in the process.


MUSICSTACK

Rare vinyl LPs and CDs from over 1,000 independent sellers

AMAZON

CDs, Vinyl, Blu-Ray DVDS, Prime membership, Alexa, SONOS and more

HD TRACKS

Specializing in high resolution and CD-quality downloads

CD UNIVERSE

Specializing in music, movies and video games

REVERB

Marketplace for new, used, and vintage instruments and gear