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9 Reviews
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super Stitt, 2 Aug. 2011
By 
ACB(swansea) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Four Classic Albums (Saxophone Supremacy / Personal Appearance / Sits In With The Oscar Peterson Trio / The Battle Of Birdland) (Audio CD)
Another bargain 2CD/4LP release from Avid. Sonny Stitt was one of the very best saxophone improvisers whether on alto or tenor sax. He collaberated with many musicians as well as leading his own band. Despite his well-documented problems with alcohol and an early death (aged 58) he has left a fine legacy including the 'Classic Albums' in the title.
Stitt can play hard bebop and poignant ballads. Charlie Parker inevitably enters into discussion of Stitt's style and performances but on closer listening you hear a Charlie Parker sound played the Stitt way. His virtuosity and technique reveal an individual maturity that is more Stitt than Parker.
SAXOPHONE SUPREMACY highlights Stitt's imagination and production of ideas giving a fresh treatment to numbers such as 'Lazy Bones' and 'Waterfront'. Impeccable timing. The backing trio add to the production especially Lou Levy (piano).
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE sees Stitt taking breakneck numbers ('Friends' and 'Knew'). His ballad playing has always been exemplary as shown by 'Blues Greasy'. He also swings on 'Original?'. Tenor sax forays are equally enjoyable on 'East of The Sun'. Good support especially from Edgar Willis (bass).
SITS IN WITH THE OSCAR PETERSON TRIO. Versatile on alto or tenor, Stitt sits in very comfortably. It has been said that he played tenor as much to try and drop the Parker mantle but this seems unfair. The 1959 numbers do include 'Scrapple from the Apple' and 'Au Privave' but are noticeably different from Parker's versions and swing 'like crazy'. The standards such as 'I Didn't Know What Time It Was' and 'I'll Remember April' are melodic and melancholy. The switch to tenor on 'Moten's Swing' and 'Easy Does It' work extremely well and lend the accompaniment of Peterson to great effect. The tracks that make up this outstanding record merely add to the weight of excellence. Ray Brown (bass) and Ed Thigpen (drums) are supreme. Peterson has his solo passages and is as classy and expressive as expected from a master. Sonny Stitt can hold his head high in such exultant company and claim his No 1 performer status.
BATTLE OF BIRDLAND. 1955 recording pitting the wits and cutting challenge between the hard-toned Stitt with the rough-tough tone of Eddie 'Lockjaw Davis'. These so-called challenges made good PR/sales as were battle of the bands/drums etc. Stitt following 'Jaws' throwing in altissimo with efficient backing (check Harry Bagby) leads to a raucous coupling. Good fun.
Sonny Stitt died aged 58. He leaves many recordings,thankfully. His own man who knew where his chosen road would lead him. Magnificent and highly recommended.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant - but re-issues worry me, 1 Nov. 2011
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This review is from: Four Classic Albums (Saxophone Supremacy / Personal Appearance / Sits In With The Oscar Peterson Trio / The Battle Of Birdland) (Audio CD)
Sonny Stitt came to my attention when he visited the UK in the Mid 60's and I purchased his first album on Impulse. Since then I have collected many of his recordings and this is an excellent example of his quality as a player. The price of these cds means your money is well spent and it is giving one the opportunity to collect many missing masters that are no longer around unless one browses the second hand Jazz shop (sadly in decline). The recording quality is good and has stood the test of time.

My major concern is the on going re-issue market at the moment with so many cds flooding into the market place. I assume due to copyright being lifted. Please listen first to many of the re-issues as some offer very bad sound quality and I have returned them to the place of purchase as a result. This current series seems fine and I have purchased several that I had missing from my collection. It is giving the younger collectors a chance to build up their collections at an economical price.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bargain price, sublime music and audio quality as expected for the era, 27 Mar. 2012
By 
JA Black (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Four Classic Albums (Saxophone Supremacy / Personal Appearance / Sits In With The Oscar Peterson Trio / The Battle Of Birdland) (Audio CD)
This is the first time I've bought a re-issued disc of jazz - there are a number of labels that are issuing multi disc sets of out of copyright jazz from the 50s and 60s at very low prices. There are mixed views on the sound quality of these re=issues on Amazon and elsewhere so my expectations were fairly low given the price. The packaging and sleeve notes are first class, the music is sublime and I can't fault the sound quality given the age of the recording. I will certainly be trying a few of the other releases in the series. Personally, i"m more interested in the music than the audio quality and these re-packaged sets are a great way to find otherwise hard to find and expensive rarities. don't hesitate to give these Avid discs a try - you may be pleasantly surprised.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fine collection of Stitt's music from the mid 1950s., 26 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Four Classic Albums (Saxophone Supremacy / Personal Appearance / Sits In With The Oscar Peterson Trio / The Battle Of Birdland) (Audio CD)
There is already a highly detailed review from 2011 that I urge you to read.
Therefore it is not necessary to add another.
Stitt plays with a wonderful tone, both on alto and tenor. I particularly liked the first album and the treatment that he gave to well known songs. His alto playing is well supported by pianist Lou Levy.
If you are unfamiliar with Stitt's work this is an excellent place to begin your researches. Avid re-releases are good value for money. The sound quality excellent, and the accompanying leaflet informative.
Why four stars? Although Stitt plays well throughout, I think that he is of a standard a little below his contemporaries. Some will disagree and think that he is and always has been under-rated. He certainly had a lot of competition to contend with!
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5.0 out of 5 stars At last... the man on disc., 24 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Four Classic Albums (Saxophone Supremacy / Personal Appearance / Sits In With The Oscar Peterson Trio / The Battle Of Birdland) (Audio CD)
After many years I am enjoying the wonderful artistry of Sonny Stitt again. A great bundle of his work, especially with The Oscar Peterson Trio and those breathless interplays with Eddie Lockjaw Davis. It still sounds as fresh as ever.
A really nice addition to my collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars As mentioned in the last review of Sonny Stitt, 27 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Four Classic Albums (Saxophone Supremacy / Personal Appearance / Sits In With The Oscar Peterson Trio / The Battle Of Birdland) (Audio CD)
As mentioned in the previous review on Sonny Stitt. I think that all this series of jazz recordings are wonderful value.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant bargain value!, 19 Jun. 2012
By 
comm88 "comm88" (Chester, Cheshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Four Classic Albums (Saxophone Supremacy / Personal Appearance / Sits In With The Oscar Peterson Trio / The Battle Of Birdland) (Audio CD)
You'll never tire of playing this. It's gorgeous and includes Sonny playing with the Oscar Peterson Trio - a sublime treat. Style, panache and skill on 2 stunning CDs. How can you not want to own this?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 30 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Four Classic Albums (Saxophone Supremacy / Personal Appearance / Sits In With The Oscar Peterson Trio / The Battle Of Birdland) (Audio CD)
Fantastic value for all serious Jazz Fans.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 2 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Four Classic Albums (Saxophone Supremacy / Personal Appearance / Sits In With The Oscar Peterson Trio / The Battle Of Birdland) (Audio CD)
good spread of his work
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