Monday, August 18, 2014

Listening to Prestige Records, Part 21: Sonny Stitt

A gap in the timeline. Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis recorded four sides for Prestige on February 7, 1950, but while Davis is widely represented on both Spotify and YouTube, I can't find this session anywhere. Too bad. Davis was joined by Al Casey, already an oldtimer in 1950 (I heard him play in the '90s with the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band), a veteran of Fats Waller's band among others; and 19-year-old Wynton Kelly, in his first recording session. Two cuts had vocals by R&B vocalist "Chicago" Carl Davis, which makes me really sorry not to have found it -- I'm always interested in the overlap between modern jazz and rhythm and blues in this time period.

Then two European sessions, one led by French pianist Jacques Dieval, about whom even the French Wikipedia has next to nothing (but James Moody and Nat Peck played on the two-song date), and the other by a Swedish group led by vibraphonist Ulf Linde.

So the next session we have access to is Sonny Stitt again, this time with a different group of sidemen, including Art Blakey, who's most associated with Blue Note, where the Jazz Messengers recorded a lot of their albums, but who had a Prestige presence as well. Blakey, ageless and prolific, actually recorded for a lot of labels.

Without Bud Powell, most of the solo space here goes to Stitt, and the session is more ballad-oriented. Of the selections, I especially liked "Mean to Me," which is a beautiful melody, and lends itself to bluesy improvisation.

This was another of the handful of recordings originally released on the Birdland label.



Just stumbled onto your blog - and this was a beautiful introduction. Thanks, Susan

Tad Richards said...

Glad you like it -- and keep playing that Gumbo!