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Duets (w/S. Rollins, S. Stitt)

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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Duets (w/S. Rollins, S. Stitt) + Sonny Side Up
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In late 1957, Gillespie recorded with two of the finest tenor players in jazz, Sonny Rollins and Sonny Stitt, both in quintet format with one of the saxophonists and in a sextet with both men present. The meeting of the two Sonnys is available on Sonny Side Up, while this disc includes their separate meetings with Gillespie. The contrast between the saxophonists is still apparent, though, with Rollins bringing blunt authority and invention to Wheatleigh Hall and Stitt providing smooth elegance within the bop conventions. Pianist Ray Bryant can play some of the deepest blues of any modern jazz musician, and he imparts a special feel to the two headless blues with Stitt, "Anythin'" and "Haute Mon'." These are blowing sessions with a special mix of the relaxed and the concentrated, with Gillespie, clearly inspired by his partners, tearing off some of his most incendiary solos of the period. --Stuart Broomer

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Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Wheatleigh Hall 8:51Album Only
listen  2. Sumphin10:29Album Only
listen  3. Con Alma 9:11Album Only
listen  4. Con Alma 9:29Album Only
listen  5. Anythin'11:32Album Only
listen  6. Haute Mon'10:38Album Only

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Verve
  • ASIN: B000004777
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,203 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By N. Dorward on August 11, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This disc collects the remainder of the material recorded in the marathon 1957 session by Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins & Sonny Stitt that yielded _Sonny Side Up_. That disc was most notable for its jam-session jousting between the two tenor players on a 15-minute "Eternal Triangle" (an "I Got Rhythm" contrafact); this disc has nothing so striking, but is still a solid session. As usual with Verve's jam-in-the-studio aesthetic of the 1950s, little of the material seems to have been carefully prepared--all but one of the tunes on here is a blues, often without even a theme statement, & the tracks are all about 10 minutes long. But Gillespie carefully varies the moods: while there's nothing here as good as the classic reading of the blues "After Hours" on _Sonny Side Up_, each blues has a different groove, tempo & key, & there's good playing on each one. The one exception is "Con Alma"--if I'm not mistaken, given its first recording here. This is perhaps the most difficult tune Gillespie ever wrote, like many of his tunes something of a harmonic exercise (in this case, stepwise chordal motion): it's not fast (a medium Latin groove) but its chord changes present challenges to the improvisor. It's the only track presented here in two takes, & I'm not sure that even on the master take Stitt & Gillespie have quite got the hang of it. Nonetheless, an interesting performance.
A good album, if not a great one. Mention should be made of the excellent rhythm section: Ray Bryant on piano, Tommy Bryant on bass, Charli Persip on drums. Of the six tracks, the first two feature Rollins, the last four feature Stitt (who plays tenor throughout except on "Anythin'", where he takes an alto solo).
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Format: Audio CD
Essentially, the Charlie Parker of the trumpet (or was Bird the Diz of the saxophone?) mentoring two of the music's most distinguished, and distinctive, proteges. Rollins is the more authoritative and adventurous, the saxophonist for those who associate the instrument with testosterone and rough edges; Stitt is simply the most perfect saxophonist of them all--the walking encyclopedia of bebop licks, the Frank Sinatra of song repertoire, the master executionist with a tone to die for--clean but embodied, pure as in pure ebony soul.

This is another Norman Granz Verve session that, more than the Van Gelder Blue Note dates, represents the "language" of the music at its zenith, an invaluable document and perpetually illuminating and scintillating conversation among musical giants--its value far outweighing all of the hard-bop, soul-jazz, funky sessions, Sidewinder formulae that offer little more than something to groove on. This music is the James Joyce of jazz; the other, the Stephen King.

Besides this one and "Sonnyside Up," look for the Diz and Getz duet session. To these three Verve dates, add two more: "Bird and Diz" and "For Musicians Only," the latter with Diz, Stitt and Getz. These five disks comprise a quintessence, a pantheon, a canon of the music at mid-century (arguably the apogee). No amount of thunder and lightning, boosted bass and drums, enhanced instruments, electronic keyboards or distorted pianos can match these meetings, where the artists rely on nothing more than their knowledge of a universal musical grammar to produce all the music on their own.

The 1970s were especially bad times for music and musicians such as these. In fact, many listeners had written off Dizzy and Stitt. How wrong we were.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
As one of a few acclaimed jam sessions that Dizzy Gillespie had made from 1955
to 1959, this one is perhaps offers the finest example in this challenging series Verve
and the trumpet titan have ever presented. To best describe the timeless success of
this acclaimed duet album, Duets, released in 1958, serve up a set of well-structured
musical duels as much as duets that nevertheless make it an interesting masterwork.
Sonny Rollins is more authorative and adventurous as the Saxophone Colossus gets
associated with the band line-up as it gives Dizzy and the band a rough artistic edge,
while the album features fellow saxophone master Sonny Stitt sitting in the recording
session. Containing a full hour of excellent world class music and magnificent tracks
composed by Dizzy himself, this track set include Weightleigh Hall, Con Alma, Haute
Man (this one is a themeless blues number in G minor), as well as Stitt’s The Eternal
Triangle, as the track set personifies this marathon jam session that is showcased by
the solid teamwork and exhilarating solos which made this “jam-in-the-studio” classic
such a timeless masterwork. Remastered in it’s own complete expanded format and
in living stereo (with two previously unissued additional tracks) that give Duets a true
finishing touch, which even sounds 100% better in it’s complete edition, thanks to the
strong chemistry by Dizzy, Sonny and Stitt, as well as Verve’s historic contribution to
re-issuing their vast library of jazz classics in their own remastered expanded format.
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