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Sonny Side Up Original recording remastered

4.7 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, July 29, 1997
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Dizzy Gillespie's long, fruitful career is peppered with a number of high-profile summit meetings with a variety of jazz royals, and this 1957 date ranks with the best of them. Gillespie facilitated this battle between tenor titans Sonny Stitt and Sonny Rollins and even, according to legend, stoked their competitive fires with well-timed phone calls prior to the session. The good-natured opener "On the Sunny Side of the Street," complete with a lighthearted Dizzy vocal turn, doesn't even hint at the serious business to follow it. "The Eternal Triangle" is a quintessential bop fracas filled with inspired, white-hot improvisation. Rollins and Stitt exchange mighty blows, in solos and in trades, and Gillespie's trumpet work is no mere afterthought, bristling as it does with creativity and authority. The ensemble catches their collective breath with "After Hours," a tasty slow blues introduced by Ray Bryant's mood-setting piano, before they unleash a ripping reading of the chestnut "I Know That You Know." You get the sense that the more artful (and "jazz's new thing") Rollins was dragged into a real street fight by the fiery Stitt, who was unbeatable on his own blistering bop turf, but each man--Gillespie included--rises to the occasion in spirited fashion. --Marc Greilsamer
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 29, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Verve Records
  • ASIN: B0000047CZ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,223 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tyler Smith on May 2, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I approach "all-star" recordings cautiously because they don't always live up to their billing. Sometimes the talent is there but the chemistry isn't, sort of like a basketball team that looks great on paper but comes up short in execution. Happily that isn't the case with "Sonny Side Up." There's plenty of room for Rollins, Stitt and Gillespie to show off their individual chops, but they all work together for a satisfying group sound.
As soon as you hear "Sunny Side of the Street," you know you're in for a good time. It's a great, joyful song that's enlivened by Dizzy's appealingly fractured vocal. "Eternal Triangle" is appropriately named as all three of these great improvisers fire up zesty solos made in hard bop heaven. The contrast of sounds between the tenors and Gillespie's darting trumpet is wonderful.
My favorite cut, however, is a definitive blues workout, "After Hours." It's a classic approach that allows the horns to play the set refrain together, and then bow out on a recurring vamp, leaving one soloist to take his turn blowing the blues. None of the three horns gets cheated. Pianist Ray Bryant enriches the mix, not only with a fine solo but with his perfect comping.
This is one of those releases that I've never gotten tired of. It's a classic from three of the premier practitioners of bop, each of whom help to bring out the best in one another. A must for any serious jazz collection.
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Format: Audio CD
The trend toward hyperbole with these reviews is justified with an album like "Sonny Side Up". No bones about it, this CD is a smoker! This was one of my first albums that set the hook for 28 years of jazz enjoyment. With thousands of records in my collection now I still never tire of this one, a desert island pick for sure.
Diz, Newk and Stitt are at the pinnicle of their creative careers. Dizzy is like bubbling oiled fire. Rollins...raw, biting, searching. Stitt...smooth as butter, funny, fast. One of the two strokes of genius on this date...the pairing of these two tenor titans. Their styles are so totally different yet they compliment one another.
The other stroke of genius is the use of blues oriented jazz pianist Ray Bryant who adds a solid mood that anchors this session.
"On The Sunny Side Of The Street" opens the set at a business man's bounce. Stitt takes the first solo followed by Diz using a Harmon mute. Rollins jumps in with all fours and the out melody is sung by (who else) Dizzy embelishing the lyrics with "Dizzyisms".
A Stitt original "The Eternal Triangle" flys. Faster than my metronome (208). Stitt takes the first solo and is off. The ideas just gush out. His tone is so beautiful and his rhythm is right on the money. Dizzy and Rollins throw in shout riffs behind him to build the energy. Stitt's solo ends when Rollins busts through the door and they begin trading "fours". As Joe Bob Briggs might say..."then they got pissed". Each tries to outdo the other and succeeds, the result is an exremely exciting and climactic romp through this tune.
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Format: Audio CD
Stitt, Dizz, and Rollins combine perfectly while still showing off their individual talents. "On the Sunny Side of the Street" is a sweet, laid back tune that immediately lets you know that you're listening to a classic. "Eternal Triangle" is a fast-pace battle of the masters between Stitt and Rollins. According to the booklet, Dizz told Rollins and Stitt each separatley that the other one was "loaded for bear" on "Eternal Triangle". It shows in the song; the two tenors trade fours and then eights and have an all-out war! Dizzy's punctuating trumpet completely balances the saxophones, and the rhythm section sets a steady groove for the brass to improvise on. If you are at all interested in jazz, I suggest you buy this cd NOW!
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By A Customer on February 24, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This album is HOT. "On the Sunny Side of the Street" is a great laid-back tune. Sonny Rollins' solo is a work of art. Taking hints from Louis Armstrong's version, it is melodic and paired up with Rollins' full tone...I can't stop listening to it. Dizzy's vocal at the end is reminiscent of Satch too, in the way that neither had a good voice, but were able to have a strong effect on the listener. "The Eternal Triangle" is an all-out battle between Rollins and Stitt, mostly because Gillespie had told each one separately that the other was talking trash. They trade 4's, then 8's, until Dizzy comes in with some nice work of his own. "After Hours" is a slow blues, and with these three playing it, what more do I need to say? "I Know That You Know" is just as "smokin" as "The Eternal Triangle," with a Rollins stop-time solo. I'm really impressed with Rollins' work on the whole album, I also bought his "Saxophone Colossus." The "Sonny Side Up" original liner notes discuss his use of thematic improvisation, as opposed to just flailing through the changes. Plus, his tone is just flawless- thick and centered, if it were hair they would say it has "body." BUY IT.
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