DC Music Salon: Sonny Stitt, Jazz Legend

Sonny StittSonny Stitt, jazz sax legend, passed away in D.C. thirty years ago this summer. An avid disciple of Charlie Parker's, Stitt developed his own style, which influenced John Coltrane and a generation of others.

Stitt's name comes up time and again as a bebop/hard-bop mainstay, but one can't ignore his blues and ballads. We can conclude Ellington would say Stitt's playing is "beyond category."

He played alongside a virtual who’s who of the most important names in jazz -- Billy Eckstine, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk -- to name just a few. But unlike many of his list-topping contemporaries, Stitt is less of a household name. On Monday, June 4, we're going to try to learn why this is, as we hear more about the man behind the amazing sound -- and, of course, listen to some of his music!

DC Jazz FestivalIn a special evening presented with the DC Jazz Festival, we will have the opportunity to learn more about this great musician from his daughter Katea Stitt, WPFW's longtime Music and Cultural Affairs Coordinator. Stitt, a much-loved leader of D.C.'s arts community, has her own production company, Anyanwu Management.

She's worked with Ntozake Shange, Lester Bowie, Sekou Sundiata, Defunkt, the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival, and Sweet Honey In The Rock, among others. She will be interviewed about her late father by her friend Askia Muhammad, who is News Director at WPFW, as well as a poet, radio producer, commentator and, for over thirty years, a journalist. Since this program is presented during the DC Jazz Festival, be sure to arrive early!

DC Music Salon
DC Music SalonSalon -- noun. A gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine their taste and increase their knowledge through conversation.

DC Music Salon is a free film & book series about music, featuring discussions with expert guests. We show films and speak with musicians, filmmakers, authors and other fellow music lovers. These aren’t lectures, and all are welcome to attend and join the conversation. Most meetings start with a quick introduction of a guest or topic, then show appropriate footage; we may discuss a relevant book and likely ask questions of our experts.

Upcoming Salons:

  • Wednesday, August 8, details to follow, in partnership with Petworth Jazz Project.
  • Wednesday, October 10, Woody Guthrie.
  • Wednesay, December 12, TBA.

All events are free, and from 7-9 p.m. at the beautiful Watha T. Daniel Library. Washington, D.C. has a musical heritage second to none and our salon celebrates it. Spread the word and see you there!