Tuesday, December 23, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Sonny Stitt

Artist:Sonny Stitt
Song:Just Friends
Album:It's Magic

Of course Charlie Parker was a huge jazz influence to many musicians. But Sonny Stitt was the guy who most closely emulated Parker. He toured and recorded for several decades. he was born Edward Boatner Jr. Feb. 2, 1924 in Boston and he grew up in Saginaw, MI. His father was a singer and his mother was a piano teacher. He was adopted out to the Stitt family and changed his name to Sonny Stitt. he played local bands as a teen and in the 40s, he worked for Tiny Bradshaw, Billy Eckstine and later Dizzy Gillespie. Stitt met Charlie Parker in 1943 and Parker noticed their similarities. Stitt usually played tenor sax to avoid comparisons with Parker. After some time in jail for dealing narcotics, he returned to New York and first recorded as a leader for Prestige in 1950. He recorded for Roost and moved to Verve in 1956. Just Friends was written in 1931 by John Klenner and Sam M. Lewis and singer Russ Columbo had a hit with it in 1932. The song is a jazz standard. Stitt first recorded Just Friends on the 1959 album Saxophone Supremacy. He also recorded it with sax player Red Holloway and on the 1972 album Tune-Up! with pianist Barry Harris. In the 60s, Stitt recorded frequently with organist Don Patterson and they toured together. It's Magic is a live recording from 1969 with Patterson on organ and Billy James on drums. It sat unreleased until Delmark Records released it on CD in 2005. Stitt was addicted to heroin in the 50s. When he kicked that habit, he drank heavily and it got worse in the 70s. But Stitt stopped drinking after suffering a couple of seizures. He recorded for Muse Records in the late 70s and toured until he died of a heart attack on July 22, 1982 at age 58. Here's a video of Just Friends by Sonny Stitt.

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