GOD BLESS JUG AND SONNY
1 - Blue ‘n’ Boogie/ 2 - Stringin’ the Jug/ 3 -God Bless the Child/ 4 - Autumn in New York/ 5 - Ugetsu/ 6 - Bye Bye Blackbird. 68:03.
Ammons, ts exc. 4 & 5; Stitt, ts -1, 2, 6, as -4; Cedar Walton, p; Sam Jones, b; Billy Higgins, d. Baltimore, MD. June 24, 1973.
This is a welcome addition to the available collaborations between Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt. Recorded during a performance for The Left Bank Jazz Society, it features some good spirited tenor wailing by the pair who each also have a solo feature. For a location recording the sound is more than acceptable, especially for the time recorded although the rhythm section is a bit down in the mix. The terrific rhythm section of Walton, Jones and Higgins is featured on Walton’s “Ugetsu.” Ammons has some intonation problems opening on “Blue n Boogie” that dissipate as he warms up before Stitt takes his turn exhibiting a lighter tone and a bit less gut bucket in his solo before they start trading choruses and quoting pop tunes and blues. Zan Stewart notes that “Stringin’ the Jug” should be titled “String and the Jug” reflecting Ammons nickname for Stitt, and the performance is taken at a torrid tempo which provides little problem for the pair. Ammons has a bluesy reading of “God Bless The Child” that stays pretty true to the melody in contrast to Stitt’s reworking of the melody in “Autumn in New York,” with the alto accentuating the difference in his tone and attack on this day. After the trio’s superb performance of “Ugetsu”, Ammons and Stitt close out on a lengthy, medium tempoed, “Bye Bye Blackbird,” which provides a solid ending to a solid document of what surely was a terrific day to have been in Baltimore.
I likely received a review copy from Cadence for whom this review was written. While not from this album, here are Jug and Sonny doing "Blues Up and Down."