Recent listening, current

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

154. Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt / Boss Tenors (1961)

If you've got the stereo disc then Ammons is in the right channel and usually goes first. Stitt is in the left channel and comes next, occasionally doubling on alto. The latter was one of the most inspiring alto players there was, but he gets short shrift. A whiz on the alto, he was equally capable on tenor or even baritone (no barisax on this disc). These two players make wonderful music together. It's a solid dance session, with plenty of fireworks and some intriguing knots in the choruses that may interest more serious listeners. "There is No Greater Love" features Stitt on alto. His exhilirating double-time chourses are a thing to marvel at. While trading jabs with each other, the horns take unexpected sidesteps outside the blues, like in Ammons' first chorus of "Autumn Leaves," or some of Stitt's phrases in the smoking "Blues Up and Down." The rhythm section of John Houston, Buster Williams, and George Brown has a good chemistry. Williams' timekeeping meshes well with Brown, and especially Houston's comping style, which favors chunky, chorded statements emphasizing the beat. Their interplay with the leaders during "Blues Up and Down" really kicks the tune into a higher gear. This is a memorable session, and quite enjoyable, to say the least.

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