Reference: FSRCD 776
Bar code: 8427328607766
Recorded in 1962, Rearin' Back was one of the most acclaimed albums Sonny Stitt made during his most prolific recording years 1959-1963. In addition to contributing some fine improvising on alto sax, Stitt composed five of the seven tunes here. Rearin Back is a calypso-flavored piece, Cut Plug and Carpsies Groove are blues, the latter making use of a march rhythm, while Queen and Bunny R. are attractive, medium-tempoed compositions.
On We, written by drummer Denzil Best in the 40s, Stitt solos brilliantly, conceiving and executing extremely complex passages so easily that some have come to take his work for granted, while his more contemplative side is reflected on Little Girl Blue. And, throughout the date, pianist Ronnie Mathews shows impeccable judgment and taste.
Tribute to Ellington finds Stitt, on alto and tenor saxophones, with a superb Lou Levy-Paul Chambers-Stan Levey driving rhythm section. This happily swinging session took place in Los Angeles in 1960, and has been included here on CD for the first time. The tunes are all Duke Ellington classics, and resulted in an album of vigor and more than passing interest, with Sonny Stitt playing with airy swinging assurance, enveloped in a warm, piercing tone, and invested with the burnished sheen and accessibility of a master saxophonist.
"Sonny Stitt was cursed for sounding and performing solos on alto identically like Charlie Parker, although the former claims to have created his style independently. For my money, his tone is light years better than Birds, and his work on tenor (featured here on a handful of tunes) ranks up with Dexter Gordon in terms of snap and power. These two sessions find him in a previously unreleased 60 tribute to Ellington with Lou Levy/p, Paul Chambers/b and Stan Levey/dr, glowing on alto on Solitude and sighing gloriously on I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart. Better still are his tenor trips on C Jam Blues and Do Nothin Till You Hear From Me. This is swing-to-bop heaven. The 62 session has him on a gorgeously sounding alto with Ronnie Matthews/p, Arthur Harper/b and Lex Humphries/dr, and hes him swerving like a Nascar driver on Calypso Groove and We while shining like a full moon on Little Girl Blue. Timeless art!"
George W. Harris (July 8, 2013)