Bird, Bud, and Stitt: "What Is This Thing Called Love" and "Sonny Side"

In jazz school the transcribing never ends, so here are a few iconic bebop solos from Bird, Bud, and Sonny Stitt. I'd never heard Stitt's "Sonny Side" rhythm changes head before, but it's pleasant enough (albeit less memorable and more apparently derivative than other heads like "Eternal Triangle"). I won't subject you to any jazz school analysis, but if you're curious about my cursory analysis on "Hot House," take a look here. I should say that the first time I heard this solo, I almost fell out of my chair—the middle 16 bars of the solo are a tour-de-force, and the altissimo-multiphonic (that outlines the #11 color on the dominant!) that caps off the end of that whole section is just perfect.

"Hot House," with Dizzy, Al Haig on piano, Curly Russell on bass, and Sid Catlett sitting in on drums for Max Roach:

C
Bb
Eb

"Sonny Side," from Sonny Stitt/Bud Powell/J.J. Johnson, recorded in December 1949 with Bud on piano, Curly Russell on bass, and Max Roach on drums:



C
Bb
Eb

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In other news, I finally started checking out the Benedetti recordings of Bird, as well as the extensive liner notes that come with them. Pretty amazing stuff, and hopefully a source of transcriptions sometime in the near future. One thought: what effort has there been to digitize liner notes? Such precious sources of information, misinformation, gossip, context, etc. — why don't more digital downloads come with scans of the liner notes? Just a thought.

Comments

  1. Hello Kevin. Thank you for focusing on this largely unknown Rhythm Changes contrafact by Sonny Stitt going under the "Sonny Side" title. It's so obscure that it's not even mentioned anywhere!

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  2. So glad to find that you wrote out that bud solo. It was actually one of the first rhythm changes solos I learned. Inimitably clean, harmonically pithy and phrased provocatively. You have excellent taste mr. sun!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, Bud is one of the greats! I'm grateful, too, that I was turned onto this recording while at the New England Conservatory, so I'll add that my teachers have even better taste than I.

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