Friday, February 02, 2024

A Lone to Gather: Sonny Stitt 100

Let's February ourselves into a fine fettled frenzy with a tribute to another centenary hero.

Oh yeah, before that I should mention that Google changed the default embed player, so to hear the sample song at the top of the page, you're gonna have to click the little pen icon in there. I also made the song title clickable as a link, and do apologize for their idiocy in advance.

So Sonny Stitt is 100, or would have been if people lived that long.

Originally one of the twelve trillion Charlie Parker disciples that came forth in the wake of Bird's demise in the mid 1950s, he soon emerged as his own thing and became one of the most popular and respected jazzers.

In fact, when John Coltrane left Miles Davis to go on his own, Miles replaced him, at first, with Sonny Stitt.

He was huge in the first half of the 1960s, but then Rock started to take over as the dominant American music.

Instead of doubling down on Hard Bop, he immediately affixed a Varitone to his horn and went as electric as Dylan at Newport.

For the next few years he indulged both areas, making Bop records with his most frequent partner-in-crime Gene Ammons whilst simultaneously waxing some of the deepest Jazz Funk LPs ever made.

Eventually he abandoned the Soul Jazz avenue and returned to pure swing and Bop, but for the first half of the 1970s he was all in on the Fusion experiments.

Whatever he did, he always maintained a singular, super identifiable alto tone that reminds me of what it might have been like if Coleman Hawkins had played the smaller horn and not the tenor... which SS switched to frequently as he went on, in some way to distinguish himself from the tremendous Bird shadow.

Anyway there aren't any Sonny Stitt ROIOs as far as I know... I've never yet seen one, so France Musique needs to get off the stick this weekend or I'm flying to Paris to take them to task over a flask.

No matter though! Undeterred, and knowing Sonny deserves the tribute even if worldwide FM radio doesn't think so, I smashed this tasty tape of his finest Funk together to mark his centennial in not-sold-in-stores style.

Sonny Stitt
Them Funky Changes

01 Anone
02 Slick Eddie
03 Turn It On
04 Spanish Harlem
05 Summertime
06 The World Is a Ghetto
07 Them Funky Changes
08 Ben
09 Big Bad Henry
10 Got to Get Over
11 Blue Monsoon
12 Opus I
13 Satan
14 Never Can Say Goodbye

15 Tornado
16 Miss Riverside
17 Out of this World
18 Beale Street Blues
19 Living Without You
20 Private Number
21 Spinning Wheel
22 Theme from Godfather II
23 Will You Love Me Tomorrow
24 Moving Beauty
25 Goin' to D.C.
26 Killing Me Softly with His Song
27 We've Only Just Begun

Total time: 2:38:24

compilation of the best of The Lone Wolf's "Funk period"
assembled by EN, January 2024
971 MB FLAC/direct link

Watch out in these 2 hours and 40 minutes for drumlord Idris Muhammad, whose ridiculous, never-the-same-way-once Second Line beats raise the dead and make them move to the groove. Someone said "you can't miss with 'Dris," and they were not kidding.

I will go sort out February now, but I didn't want to let today pass without paying homage to the man a critic once termed The Lone Wolf, for his fierce and unbending commitment to Music!--J.

2.2.1924 - 7.22.1982


  1. This is great. The World Is A Ghetto! I wasn't aware of Stitt's later career so this is a real surprise.