Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Endgame Brilliance: Constellation & Tune-Up
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Of all the saxophonists that would be touched deeply by the genius of Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt came away from the experience indelibly marked. Endgame Brilliance finds Stitt decades removed from Parker, recording in 197... more »
Of all the saxophonists that would be touched deeply by the genius of Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt came away from the experience indelibly marked. Endgame Brilliance finds Stitt decades removed from Parker, recording in 1972, fronting a ready-to-rumble quartet rounded out by pianist Barry Harris, bassist Sam Jones, and either Alan Dawson or Roy Brooks on drums. They play with palpable sizzle on both the sessions here (originally released on Muse Records as Constellation and Tune Up!), tackling an array of bop cornerstones and more. Stitt blazes through the title track to "Tune Up," alerting the ears that he's not one to pull punches. But he also plays with late-night romance in his heart on "(I Don't Stand) A Ghost of a Chance with You" and strutting soul in his hips on "By Accident." In all, the 15 tracks of Endgame Brilliance amount to a primer on bop, blues, and balladry at once. It's some of Stitt's finest playing on record, and all of it comes off as an extended simple, inspired, game-winning jump shot. --Andrew Bartlett
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Stitt was never better than on these Cobbelstone dates.
Elmo's Firetruck | Bush Country! | 11/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After several years of indifferent recording sessions for a variety of labels, Sonny Stitt walked in and blew the house down on these two early 70's dates for Cobbelstone Records (NOT "Muse" as was stated above--"Muse" put out LP reissues in the 1980's!). I think Stitt was invigorated by the tour he had just done with the "Giants of Jazz" and was pushed harder by this swingin' combo than he had been in years. There was never a more fluid and melodic sax player than Sonny Stitt--and that INCLUDES Bird. I can't reccomend this reissue highly enough."
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 02/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's always bothered me that the world's most ubiquitous and prolifically recorded saxophonist, not to mention arguably the most "perfect" tenor and alto player in the history of jazz, was not "discovered" by many critics and listeners until two no-nonsense, straight-ahead, blistering sessions that he recorded for Cobblestone records in the mid-seventies: "Tune-Up" and "Constellation." Both of these stellar sessions are collected on this CD, but how frustrating that not only has the original label gone under but its successor, "32 Jazz," has folded as well. Fortunately, I've been able to locate a mint LP copy of "Constellation" to go along with the earlier session, but this music would admittedly receive far more playing time from me if it were on a single CD.
If you can locate "Endgame Brilliance" (and at a time when you're not too strapped financially), by all means grab it up. These may be Stitt's best recordings during the last ten years of his career; they're certainly among his most uncompromising. On "Tune-Up" Sonny turns in a tour-de-force on "I Got Rhythm" changes, using two tempos and both of his horns. On "Constellation" he uses the same changes, ups the tempo a notch, and sticks to alto, once again confirming my slight preference for his work on the smaller and lighter instrument.
[Addendum: The two sessions are not yet available domestically but can be ordered in a single-CD format from Spain (do a search for Fresh Sound Records). Listening to the disc now, I'm going to say that it's quintessential, not necessarily the "best," Stitt. In effect, these two 1972 dates represented Sonny stripping his horns of his Selmer Varitone device, announcing an aversion to the Hammond B3 organ, and moving beyond the '60s "funk/soul artist" tag. It was an inspirational moment to keepers of the flame at a time when country, fusion, and disco ruled the day.]"
The best Stitt CD I've yet heard--great quality!
Samuel Chell | 08/24/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's hard to find good jazz with all of the trash some labels put out. This CD immediately became one of my favorites. The clarity of sound of the recording itself would be enough for me to purchase it, let alone the fact that it includes two of Stitt's best albums on one disc. Some of the tunes swing so hard, it is impossible not to tap your foot. "I can't get started" is some of the best ballad playing I've heard, and being a saxophonist myself, I use it as a model of definitive playing. If one purchases this album, I can garantee that they will enjoy it (of course if you don't, it has no effect on me). Do yourself a favor and pick this CD up if you are looking for a way to start listening to Stitt, or Jazz in general."