DAN MORGENSTERN RECALLS SONNY STITT, WILLIE COOK, and LEE KONITZ (July 6, 2018)

More affectionate sharply focused tales from my favorite Jazz Eminence, Mister Morgenstern — recorded at his Upper West Side apartment last summer.

Here’s the first part of Dan’s recollections of Sonny Stitt, which include an ashtray and a bottle of vodka, not at the same time or place:

More about Sonny and the wonderful trumpeter / arranger Willie Cook:

In these interviews, I’ve concentrated primarily on the figures who have moved on to other neighborhoods, but Dan and I both wanted to shine a light on the remarkable Lee Konitz:

More to come, including Dan’s recollections of a trio of wondrous pianists, Martial Solal, Eddie Costa, and Willie “the Lion” Smith.  And Dan and I had another very rewarding session three days ago . . . with more to come this spring.

May your happiness increase!

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5 responses to “DAN MORGENSTERN RECALLS SONNY STITT, WILLIE COOK, and LEE KONITZ (July 6, 2018)

  1. admathesoncanada

    Hi Michael, Thank you for these excellent verbal portraits via Dan Morgenstern of three wonderful musicians. I especially appreciated Dan’s championing of Willie Cook’s musical reputation since he really has become a forgotten figure, sadly. I once asked Clark Terry who he liked best as a lead trumpeter when Clark was with the Ellington band. He quickly replied “Willie Cook and Shorty Baker”. Many people assume that because Cat Anderson could play so high that he was the main lead trumpet player when Cat was with Ellington. Not so. The trumpet section sound of so many great Ellington recordings and performances in the fifties came from Willie Cook’s beautiful and very in-tune lead playing. Dan mentioned this a bit but Willie was also an excellent soloist. His solo on the first recording of “Upper Manhattan Medical Group” (Bethlehem Records, 1956) is a beautifully constructed and swinging solo. When I was a sophomore in college (Humber College in Toronto) I transcribed and performed this solo on my end-of-term performance jury. I learned a lot from this process and can still remember this solo to play it. All the best and many thanks! Alan

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  2. Delighted to learn that we are to be treated to another batch of memoirs, reminiscences and stories from the splendid raconteur, Dan Morganstern. Sometimes his recall seems too good to be true but as an influential journalist most musicians would have been only to pleased to have the chance to recount their experiences to a sympathetic scribe. Please carry on recording Dan’s invaluable and fascinating tales and carry on being “Boswell” to Dan’s “Johnson” as long as possible, Michael. – Jamie Evans

  3. Girish Trivedi

    Whatever comes from Morganstern is a good read as he has been and is ‘in person connected ‘ with the Jazz musians.

  4. Don "Zoot" Conner

    Thanks once again for presenting more of Dan’s reminiscings.Sonny Stitt was one of my favorite reed-man and I liked him better on tenor than alto but he was great on both.I shared his enthusiasm for Lee Konitz,as well.Thanks ,Michael,i’ll be waiting on baited flatted fifths for your next release.

  5. Pingback: HANDFULS OF KEYS: DAN MORGENSTERN CELEBRATES MARTIAL SOLAL (and ANDRE HODEIR), EDDIE COSTA, and WILLIE “THE LION” SMITH (July 6, 2018) | JAZZ LIVES

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