Long-overdue reissue of this excellent album that has Stitt playing with moody string backings by Ralph Burns
. This sort of album became one of the Verve trademarks after the success of the Charlie Parker & Strings sessions – but this Stitt LP gives the sound a whole new twist, thanks largely to Burns
' fantastically off-kilter arrangements. Stitt's tone is right on the money, and he soars dreamily, cut free from a rigid bop rhythm section. The sound is better than we'd ever expect, and the album's a beautiful suite of late night tracks that show Stitt as a master ballad player, on material like "Try A Little Tenderness", "Once In A While", "Talk To Me", "All of You", and "World Really Isn't". Next up is a heck of a great little record – one that shouldn't work so well, but it does! For the set, Sonny Stitt's blowing in front of a larger brass section – and while the prospect of a Sonny Stitt big band record might not sound that great at first, this one really kicks, largely because of Sonny's great solo work! Stitt's in perfect form by this point – blowing freely above a core brass group that features Blue Mitchell, Jimmy Cleveland, and Willie Ruff – arranged tightly by Tadd Dameron and Jimmy Mundy, yet still given enough room to swing with a heck of a lot of soul! Also quite nice is the organ work on the set by the obscure female player Perri Lee – a great little groover with a lean sound that cuts through the arrangements and really makes them sparkle! Titles include "Souls Valley", "On A Misty Night", "Stittsie", "Poinciana", "Sea Sea Rider", and "The Four Ninety".