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Sonny Stitt

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Artist's Top Tracks

Birth Of The Blues Sonny Stitt 05:57
I Can't Give You Anything But Love Sonny Stitt, Oscar Peterson 04:05
On The Sunny Side Of The Street Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Stitt, Sonny Rollins 05:40
I Got Rhythm Sonny Stitt 03:06
Blues Greasy Sonny Stitt 03:20
After Hours Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt 12:19
I'll Remember April Sonny Stitt 04:41
Be-Bop Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz 12:48
Wee (Allen's Alley) Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Stitt 08:29
The Eternal Triangle Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt 14:10

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I Got Rhythm
Mean To Me
Sonny's Tune
Time After Time

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Biography

Regarded at first as a lesser Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt carved out a memorable career on the saxophone with a confrontational, inventive style that matured into a rich understanding of both sizzling bebop and classic ballads. He enjoyed musical duels with fellow artists and had the gift of being an entertainer who loved to engage and please audiences. Over dozens of recordings, he played a formative role in the development of modern jazz and played with all the top jazz stars of his era including Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis.

Born in Boston, he was given up for adoption by his musician father and grew up in Saginaw, Michigan, with a family named Stitt. He took the nickname Sonny and while still a teenager, he played with a local swing band. He first met Charlie Parker in the early 1940s and both remarked on their similar styles, which helped Stitt earn a spot replacing Parker in bands led by Billy Eckstine and Dizzy Gillespie. Along with trumpeter Kenny Dorham and pianist Bud Powell, he was one of Gillespie's Bebop Boys but he ended up behind bars for more than a year for narcotics offences.

Upon his release from prison in 1949, he fronted several ensembles, joined up with Miles Davis and in 1963 he released an album titled 'Stitt Plays Bird', which featured ten pieces by Charlie Parker with Stitt accompanied by Jim Hall on guitar, John Lewis on piano, Richard Davis on bass, and Connie Kay on drums. Stitt made records with saxophonists Gene Ammons and Booker Ervin in the '60s and he was a regular at London's Ronnie Scott Club. Alcoholism gradually tempered his output but in 1972, critics said his album 'Tune-Up!' showed that he could still deliver outstanding solos. He played with Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Kai Winding and Al McKibbon in the Giants of Jazz aggregation and toured with fellow sax player Red Holloway. In 1982, he suffered a heart attack and died aged 58.