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Sonny Stitt

Biography

Sonny Stitt was one of the great Bop innovators; a tenor and alto saxophonist whose accomplishments were often overshadowed by the player to which he bore an uncanny similarity: Charlie Parker. His involvement in the Bop scene occurred simultaneously to that of Parker, playing with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie in 1945. Drug addiction caused him to leave the scene in the late '40s, and he returned on the tenor horn in 1950. By then, he was leading his own bands and playing sharper than ever. Stitt's playing combined the robustness of Dexter Gordon with the lyricism of Lester Young, and he often dueled with other horn players, allowing him to show off his prodigious technique. In the '60s, Stitt began playing with more Funk-influenced combos, often featuring electric guitar and organ. However, he remained primarily a Bop player until his death in 1982.

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