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Sonny Stitt: Made for Each Other

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These bebop saxophone reissues were produced in Chicago by Robert Koester in conjunction with longtime club owner Joe Segal.

Alto and tenor giant Sonny Stitt always could burn a bebop riff like his idol, Charlie Parker. In this 1968 studio session, Stitt is in perfect sync with ever-grooving organist Don Patterson and tasty drummer Billy James, Midwestern musicians who worked with Lockjaw Davis and Gene Ammons.

The nine tracks include two versions of “Funny,” one on tenor, the other on alto, both with that distinctive Stitt-style reed sound. There also are two takes on a samba-style “Night Has a Thousand Eyes,” the second track a previously unissued rendition that takes more chances than the original. Purists may want to program the CD player to skip the two pop hits, “Honey” and “Glory of Love.” But those are more than compensated for by “Blues for J.J.” and a great reading of “The Very Thought of You.”

Big-toned tenorman Jimmy Forrest of “Night Train” fame swaggers through this 1959 bebop romp. Only seven tracks, four standards and three originals, but each played with an untrammeled, full-swinging spirit that emulates the album title.

Forrest is brilliantly inventive on a nine-minute rendition of “Caravan,” drummer Elvin Jones adding to the blaze in a pre-Coltrane outing. Guitarist Grant Green is dazzling in his first recorded session, which includes “Laura,” “You Go to My Head” and “What’s New?” Pianist Harold Mabern is cleverly quotable throughout, with solid backing by bassist Gene Ramey.

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