Saturday, January 21, 2006

Satellite Radio Is Great, So Was Sonny Stitt

Satellite radio is three shades of fine. I listened to XM channel 70 (Real Jazz) a lot today, as I spent a lot of time on the road. I enjoyed the cuts they played today even more than usual. They played some classic Sonny Stitt and it really burned! If I had to choose a favorite saxophonist, Stitt might be my pick. He was an incredible player.

I was fortunate to have been able to hear and see him in person. When I was a student at UK in the late 1970's, he played a few sets at a little Lexington KY jazz club called O'Keefe's. My Dad and I sat at the front table just in front of the stage. I was so close to Sonny that I could read the Selmer engraving on his Mark VI horns. At intermission Sonny sat and talked with me. I was hoping to pick up a helpful playing hint or advice from the best sax player in the world. He asked if I played an instrument. I replied, "I play the tenor". Sonny put his hand on my shoulder, pulled me close to him so that I could clearly hear his words of wisdom, and told me in a soft but stearn voice, "tenor is a bad mother". That was it. Nothing more, only a confident nod emphasing his statement.

Like the tenor, Sonny Stitt was a "bad mother". So is XM radio.


At January 23, 2006 7:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mother? What do you mean "mother". Stitt is a guy. Stitt can't be a "mother".
I got a cd last week entitled "sunny side up": sonny rollins and sonny stitt! Now those are two bad mothers.

At January 24, 2006 8:18 AM, Blogger Saxmandavid said...

You are right about Stitt and Rollins! I met Sonny years ago when he gave a music clinic at UK. Here was saxophone collosus in a small room on the second floor at the Student Center giving a free clinic. Sadly, there were only about ten of us in the crowd. He talked with us for about thirty minutes and then played his tenor, uninterrupted for about twenty minutes. He was unbelievable. Of course I had him autograph one of my favorite Rollins album covers. It is prominantly displayed on my wall today.


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