Saturday, November 01, 2014

Listening to Prestige Records Part 46: Sonny Stitt--Gene Ammons

This time, separate quartet sessions. Maybe Bob Weinstock wanted to get twice as many songs while still only paying the rhythm section for one day in the studio.
Or maybe the day went something like this.

"Hey, daddy-o, whatcha got for today."

"I thought I'd blow a little 'When the Saints Go Marching in." 

"Oh,man, you are on your own,"

Certainly it's not high on the Most Requested list for hipster bebop fans, but Ammons makes it work.

And Stitt makes his session work -- three riff-built originals, and "Confessin'," another tune with deep traditionalist associations, going back to Fats Waller and early Louis Armstrong. Stitt makes it fir perfectly with this session. On the one hand, it's a familiar melody, giving a nice anchor to the session. On the other hand, while Stitt stays quite close to the melody throughout most of the number, he gives it that riffing feeling.

One thing I've noticed about all these sessions so far in our Prestige history. We have yet to hear a bass solo. Not much solo drum work. And not even all that much in the way of piano solos.

I'm guessing these sessions were all done with one mike. Certainly, they were all in mono, and
Weinstock was teaching himself how to produce and engineer a recording session -- don't forget how young he was when he started Prestige. The Rudy Van Gelder years were yet to come, but this stuff still sounds good, and we're lucky to have it. But for this session, perhaps he figured out a different mike placement, because there are some real piano solos by Clarence Anderson on both the Stitt and Ammons sessions -- some great call-and-response stuff, and a couple of very tasty extended solos.

All of these were released on 78 and on 10-inch LPs/

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