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Sat, 02.02.1924

Sonny Stitt, Saxophonist born

Sonny Stitt

*On this date in 1924, Edward “Sonny” Stitt was born. He was a Black jazz saxophonist, one of the most consistently important reed musicians in the history of jazz.

Stitt was from Boston, Massachusetts, and began his career in the 1940s playing with Dizzy Gillespie. He led his combos in the 1950s and 1960s, traveling around the United States and abroad, and he played with Norman Granz’s Jazz at the Philharmonic. His connection with the early bebop music and its players gave him a steady and devoted fan base. Stitt’s performances often gave listeners proof that he was one of the best at what he represented in the crowded reed players of jazz.

As traditional jazz grew compliant to the rock and roll of the 1960s and beyond, important jazz figures such as Stitt seemed to fade from the ear and hearts of the public. Always conscious of his musical identity, he switched from alto saxophone to tenor to avoid comparisons between his music and that of Charlie Parker.  He proved to be equally talented on the tenor, alto, and baritone saxophone as well. Sonny Stitt died on July 22, 1982, in Washington, D.C.

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Jazz History

All That Jazz The Illustrated Story of Jazz Music
General Editor: Ronald Atkins
Copyright 1996, Carlton Books Limited
ISBN 0-76519-953-X

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