I miss him too, Charlie Brown. Dig the amazing melody below, just one of a thousand Sonny Stitt churned out daily like butter.
That’s a paraphrased snippet of Sonny Stitt’s solo on “Blue Lights,” from his 1967 Prestige release “Pow!”
Note how he effortlessly weaves a simple diminished scale into a labyrinthine web most complex, elegant, beautiful, and swinging.
After immersing myself in 20 CDs of Sonny Stitt recordings for several months, i can confidently affirm: “No, Stitt ain’t no Bird clone.” Actually, truth be told, thousands of us players would rejoice at being thought of as “Bird clones.” Referring to the brilliant Charlie Parker, legend quotes Stitt as responding to this accusation: “OK, let’s hear you copy Bird!”
No man, Stitt is his own cat; Actually he’s two amazing cats, one on alto, one on tenor, with a smattering of brilliant bari work thrown in for good measure.
Below is a chart and a recording of that paraphrased Sonny Stitt lick in all 12 keys, in case you want to further develop your diminished scale chops.
By the way, if you want to totally transform your approach to improv, download “New Ears Resolution.”
My sincere thanks to Charles McNeal for compiling, editing, and making available the Keith Oxman Sonny Stitt Transcriptions.
5 thoughts on “Pow!, Stitt, Dim Them Blue Lights!”
Thanks for this… it is way better than just running those scales and really helps think of them in a more musical way.
Craig, I am searching for a great photo of Honk for editorial publication. Can you please email me? ShawnP@surfersjournal.com
Glad to hear from you.
What era are you interested in?
We have been together in the current 6-person formation from 1972 until the present day.
Just got POW from a box in the attic. And turned out I hadn’t already made a copy to my audio library. Although do already have 20 other Stitt’s. Saw the cool Charlie Brown T-shirt. Is that for sale somewhere?
If the T-shirt is not already available, it SHOULD be! Wow, would i ever like to hear those 20 Sonny Stitt albums! Every one i have studied has been an inspiring revelation. Along with Mobley, Dexter, Turrentine, and Charlie Rouse, Stitt is the cat i have most enjoyed studying of late.