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Sonny Stitt

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Biography

Edward “Sonny” Stitt (born Edward Boatner, Jr., February 2, 1924 – July 22, 1982), was an American jazz saxophonist of the bebop/hard bop idiom. He was one of the most well-documented saxophonists of his generation, recording over 100 albums. He was nicknamed the “Lone Wolf” by jazz critic Dan Morgenstern, in reference to his relentless touring and devotion to jazz.

Early life

Edward Boatner was born in Boston, Massachusetts[1] and grew up in Saginaw, Michigan. He had a musical background; his father, Edward Boatner, was a baritone singer, composer and college music professor, his brother was a classically trained pianist, and his mother was a piano teacher.[1] Boatner was soon adopted by another family, the Stitts, who gave him his new surname. He later began calling himself “Sonny”.
In 1943, Stitt first met Charlie Parker, and as he often later recalled, the two men found that their styles had an extraordinary similarity that was partly coincidental and not merely due to Stitt’s emulation. Stitt’s improvisations were more melodic/less dissonant than those of Parker. Stitt’s earliest recordings were made in 1945 with Stan Getz and Dizzy Gillespie. He had also played in some swing bands, though he mainly played in bop bands. Stitt was featured in Tiny Bradshaw’s big band in the early forties. Stitt replaced Charlie Parker in Dizzy Gillespie’s band in 1945.[2]

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