Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Sonny STITT - Sonny, Sweets and Jaws Live at Bubba's 1981
One of many sessions recorded at Bubba's in Ft. Lauderdale for Who's Who in Jazz, this November 1981 concert matches Sonny Stitt with another fine tenor saxophonist, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, and trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison, with a locally based but strong rhythm section anchored by veteran pianist Eddie Higgins. The three headliners lock horns on a relatively easygoing "Oh, Lady Be Good," Davis' cooking blues "The Chef," and a romp through "Lester Leaps In." Each of the three men has an individual feature as well. Stitt switches to alto sax for "What's New," which alternates between lush and percolating lines. Edison is in the spotlight for "There Is No Greater Love," with his softly played muted horn powered initially by Mast's driving bassline. Davis' unaccompanied introduction to "I Can't Get Started With You" nearly steals the show. The audience is respectfully quiet most of the time and the recording quality is excellent. As usual, the major weakness of this Who's Who in Jazz CD is the substitution of rather generic biographies of the three featured soloists in place of liner notes, a major disappointment, since this one was of Sonny Stitt's final recordings as a leader. Another boneheaded error is the date given for the recording, July 23, 1982, which is the day after Stitt died in Washington, D.C.! By Ken Dryden, All Music Guide.
The second of two Who's Who LPs recorded during a club appearance by Sonny Stitt (who doubles here on alto and tenor) has guest appearances by tenor-saxophonist Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison in addition to fine backup work from pianist Eddie Higgins, bassist Donn Mast and drummer Duffy Jackson. This may look like a budget album but the playing (particularly by Stitt) on the blues, standards and ballads is top notch. Until the music is reissued on CD, this LP and the complementary set Sonny, Sweets & Jaws are collector's items.
By Scott Yanow, All Music Guide.
Sonny Stitt died July 22, 1982, and according to the liner notes "Sonny, Sweets, and Jaws" was recorded live at Bubba's on July 23, 1982. But since Bubba's is in Fort Lauderdale, the immediate context could not have been celestial.
In any case, this is most likely Sonny's last "live" recording. And since I'm a Stitt collector and have his last studio session ("The Last Sessions," recorded June 19, 1982), I thought it best to go for completeness. But this album is better than the studio session, good enough to be worthy of a place on any jazz collector's shelf. Sonny is clearly inspired by the "competition," Sweets sounds better than ever, Jaws is his usual indomitable self, and the rhythm section swings exceptionally hard all the way to the finish line (how I wish Duffy Jackson had been around to record with Oscar Peterson in the 60's).
Moreover, the thoughtful programming assures the listener's interest, no matter how many times he's heard these guys use the same licks. First, an ensemble jam (but very organized) on "Lady Be Good" changes, then a Stitt ballad followed by a Sweets swinger followed by a Jaws blues and ballad. And finally bringing the proceedings to a spirited close, another ensemble jam, this time on "I Got Rhythm" changes ("Lester Leaps In").
In short, a vibrant and victorious valedictory by three of the most distinctive, forceful voices in the history of jazz.
By Samuel Chell.
Harry Sweets Edison (trumpet 1, 3, 4, 6)
Sonny Sitt (tenor saxophone 1, 4, 6; alto saxophone 2)
Eddie Lockjaw Davis (tenor saxophone 1, 4-6)
Eddie Higgins (piano)
Donn Mast (bass)
Duffy Jackson (drums)
01. Oh, Lady Be Good (8:22)
02. What's New (4:00)
03. There Is No Greater Love (6:48)
04. The Chef (7:19)
05. I Can't Get Started (4:56)
06. Lester Leaps In (9:08)