Thursday, February 7, 2013

Milt Jackson & Sonny Stitt In the Beginning

This is a very interesting CD, particularly for bop collectors, since it contains very rare early performances by altoist Sonny Stitt and vibraphonist Milt Jackson; some of the titles were originally under trumpeter Russell Jacquet's name. There are eight songs by a quintet with Stitt, Jacquet and pianist Sir Charles Thompson, what could be considered the first Modern Jazz Quartet records (actually a quintet with Milt Jackson, pianist John Lewis, drummer Kenny Clarke, bassist Al Jackson and Chano Pozo on congas) and five songs from a septet with Jacquet, Stitt, trombonist J.J. Johnson and baritonist Leo Parker. Recorded in Detroit for the tiny Galaxy label, these performances are not essential but they do give listeners an early glimpse at the future stars.
Scott Yanow

Source :

Milt jackson
Sonny Stitt
In the Beginning


1 Body and Soul (Green, Heyman, Eyton, Sour)  2:21
2 3rd Song (Silver Slipper) (Stitt)  2:15
3 Red Shoes (Stitt)  2:18
4 Be Bop Blues (Stitt)  2:14
5 Royal Wedding (Stitt)  2:23
6 Fine and Dandy (Swift, James)  2:20
7 Stardust (Carmichael, Parish)  2:15
8 Ratio and Proportion (Stitt)  2:14
9 Slits (Jackson)  2:32
10 Baggy Eyes (Jackson)  2:24
11 In A Beautiful Mood (Jackson)  2:56
12 Bagy's Blues (Jackson)  2:40
13 Suede Jacket (Johnson, Jacquet)  2:54
14 Suede Jacket [alt. take] (Johnson, Jacquet) 2:41
15 Lion's Roar (Rusell, Jacquet)  2:48
16 Sca    mper Roo (Johnson, Jacquet)  2:50
17 Relaxin' (Jacquet)  2:14


[# 1-8]
Sonny Stitt - as
Russell Jacquet - tp
Charles Thompson - p
Unknown b & dr
[# 9-12]
Milt Jackson - vb
John Lewis - p
Al Jackson - b
Kenny Clarke - dr
Chano Pozo - cng
[# 13-17]
Sonny Stitt - as
J. J. Johnson - tb
Leo Parker - bs
Russell Jacquet - tp
Charles Thompson - p
Unknown b & dr

Recorded at United Sound, Detroit, Michigan ; April 1948

As an admirer of both Jackson and Stitt, I think this is a great sample of their earliest work. It was recorded in 1948, so don't expect high fidelity. The balance on tracks 1-12 leaves something to be desired, and there's too much ambient reverb, as if the session was recorded with one microphone in the middle of the room. The bonus tracks (# 13-17) are much better fidelity, which makes me suspect they may not have been recorded at the same session, contrary to what's indicated on the back cover.
If the less-than-perfect fidelity doesn't bother you, you're in for a treat, because the playing is great. Stitt is showcased on tracks 1-8, and Jackson is there too, although his presence is not credited in the track listing. Stitt's short but fluid rendition of "Body and Soul" is beautifully done, and in general he puts on an impressive show each time you hear him. (Stitt is on alto for the entire album, and Charlie Parker's influence is clearly evident.) Jackson takes the lead (and Stitt takes a rest) on tracks 9-12, demonstrating the skill and style that come from making the vibes your main instrument instead of a pianist's or drummer's double, as was more typical in those days. Stitt takes back the spotlight (and Jackson is absent) on the bonus tracks, which include trumpet, trombone (a very young J.J. Johnson), and baritone sax in the ensemble. My favorite of these is Stitt's smooth and skillful interpretation of "Relaxin" with some assistance from J.J.'s trombone.
If you favor either of these artists, or the style of jazz that was emerging in the late 1940s, you'll probably be willing to overlook the recording imperfections and will derive substantial enjoyment from this CD.
James A. Vedda

Source :


Leopold said...

garcilasso said...

Verdaderamente estoy agradecidísimo por vuestra generosidad. Tenéis un blog extraordinario. Muchas gracias

Lenny said...

Thanks Leo

duck said...

Leopold sir, this is a rare find, many thanks for making it available.

neil said...

Rare, indeed; many thanks...

ndhjazz said...

Hi Leo, what's the p-word?


Prof. Yaffle said...

Leopold, many thanks

LeDog said...

what's the p-word?

ranyi said...

please if you could re-upload this one. thanks.