Sonny Stitt was one of the most influential jazz musicians. He played a vital role in the evolution of bebop music. His unique style of playing influenced many musicians in the jazz industry.
Sonny Stitt was born on February 2, 1924, in Boston. He began his musical career when he joined the bands of Earl Hines, Charlie Parker, Kenny Clarke, and Dizzy Gillespie. Stitt also performed with some of the most influential names in jazz, such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Charlie Mingus. He played with Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, and Thelonious Monk.
After his stint in the band of Duke Ellington, Sonny Stitt started working with the legendary jazz drummer Max Roach. He recorded several albums with Roach, including “Max Roach with Sonny Stitt” and “With Sonny Stitt.”
Biography of Sonny Stitt
Sonny Stitt was born in Boston on February 2, 1924, and began playing the saxophone at age seven. He started taking lessons from a local teacher, who taught him the fundamentals of music theory. When he was 14, he joined the school band as a clarinetist.
His religious mother had always told him that God would provide for him if he worked hard enough. He took this advice seriously and continued to practice hard after school hours. After graduating high school, Stitt worked as an elevator operator and took saxophone lessons. He became proficient enough to play by ear without any written music. Stitt’s first professional gig was with the band of trumpeter Don Byas, who had been his teacher.
His father was a minister, and young Sonny started playing piano at six. He took lessons for several years and taught himself to play the saxophone. At the age of twelve, Stitt began to focus on the trumpet. During his high school years, he was in the band, and he played in bands and at parties in between school assignments. He graduated college at seventeen and joined Count Basie’s band.
He worked with Earl Hines, Charlie Parker, Kenny Clarke, and Dizzy Gillespie. He was one of the founding members of the Jazz Messengers, a group formed in 1945.
In 1947, Sonny Stitt was introduced to Max Roach and joined the band of the legendary drummer. He played with Roach for almost four years. During this period, he recorded three albums with Roach.
In 1952, Sonny Stitt joined Miles Davis and played with him for a short period. After his stint with Miles Davis, he was hired by the famous record label Prestige.
He released three albums with Prestige. In 1955, he started recording albums for the label Blue Note. He played with John Coltrane, Bill Evans, and Ornette Coleman during this period.
In 1957, he released an album called “The New Thing” with pianist Hank Jones. After this, he joined Thelonious Monk’s band and played with him for three years. In 1958, Sonny Sitt do a joint venture with Dizzy and Stan to launch another album named as For Musicians Only.
In 1960, he moved to Los Angeles, California. He recorded an album with the band of pianist Horace Silver. He also released a live album with the band.
Sonny Stitt released six albums with the band of saxophonist and composer Sonny Rollins. He also performed with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Charles Mingus. He has recorded an Album Named as Stitt Goes Latin in 1963.
In 1965, Sonny Stitt joined the band of pianist, composer, and bandleader George Shearing. In 1969, he joined the band of saxophonist, composer, and bandleader John Coltrane.
Sonny Stitt was one of the most influential and successful jazz musicians of the 20th century. He died on August 30, 1998, in Los Angeles, California.
Sonny Stitt, born in 1924, was an American jazz saxophonist who played in the early 1950s when the “hard bop” jazz style was the standard. He has been called the most significant tenor saxophone player of all time. Stitt recorded his first album at age 19 and was one of the first musicians to register for the Blue Note label. He was among the first musicians to perform with the Miles Davis Quintet and Dizzy Gillespie.