Feb 2, 1953: Stitt Celebrates Birthday at Hi-Hat
Feb 2 is Edward “Sonny” Stitt’s birthday (born in Boston, 1924), and he celebrated his 29th birthday in 1953 by opening at the Hi-Hat. Horace Silver was with him, but the rest of the band is unknown. During his two-week stay, Stitt played all three of his horns—bari, tenor, and alto. Surely he played “Mass Ave Swing” (later retitled “Symphony Hall Swing”) a tune he recorded ten weeks before. But there was more in store than Stitt at the Hi-Hat that week. It was a double bill, and top billing went to the most renowned of the Boston saxophonists, Johnny Hodges, at the Hi-Hat with Lawrence Brown, Emmett Berry, and the rest of his All-Stars.
One year later, was back at the Hi-Hat with a rhythm section of Dean Earl, Bernie Griggs, and Marquis Foster (there’s a picture of this unit in The Boston Jazz Chronicles). The quartet’s performance on the night of February 11, 1954 has been released at least three times on CD. Here on “Tri-Horn Blooz” from that night, with Stitt blowing all three horns.