The last of the classic Sonny Rollins albums prior to his unexpected three-year retirement features the great tenor with pianist Hampton Hawes, guitarist Barney Kessel, bassist Leroy Vinnegar, and drummer Shelly Manne (all bandleaders for Contemporary Records during this era) on an unusual but inspired list of standards. Rollins creates explorative and often witty improvisations on such songs as "Rock-A-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody," "You," "In the Chapel in the Moonlight," and roaring versions of "I've Found a New Baby" and "The Song Is You." Great music.
One of Sonny Rollins' better recordings of the 1970s, this spirited Milestone set finds the veteran tenor saxman adopting a thicker and raunchier R&B-ish tone. Although sticking close to the melody, he really tears into Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely" and finds interesting new variations to play on "My One and Only Love" (on soprano) and "Easy Living." The fine backup group includes keyboardist George Duke and drummer Tony Williams.
The soundtrack to the performance film Saxophone Colossus features long Sonny Rollins tenor solos on "G-Man" and "Don't Stop the Carnival" and a briefer one during "Kim." Joined by his usual quintet of the era (trombonist Clifton Anderson, pianist Mark Soskin, electric bassist Bob Cranshaw and drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith), Rollins is in good form, saying little that it is new but delivering passionate messages with his typical spirit; the video is worth getting too.
Over the span of his storied and still-unfolding 65-year career, Sonny Rollins has established himself as one of the giants of jazz — a towering influence, a trailblazer, a powerfully creative force in the music. From his earliest masterpieces, such as Saxophone Colossus and Freedom Suite, to his Road Shows archival series of live performances for his Doxy label in the 2000s, Rollins has presented his peerless music without compromise — and to consistent international acclaim. The new CD contains six tracks recorded between 2001 and 2012 in Saitama, Japan; Toulouse, Marseille, and Marciac, France; and St. Louis. “Patanjali,” a striking new Rollins composition, is given its debut recording.
The day may come when the well runs dry, but that day is not upon us. The fourth installment of Sonny Rollins' Road Shows series has arrived, bringing more beauties from the archives to light while bearing out that the genius of the Saxophone Colossus is best demonstrated on the stage. That's where the magic has always happened for him, and that's why these offerings have been so well-received. The first three volumes are already considered to be indispensable items in the storied Rollins canon, and this one stands to join them.
Big Brass is an appropiate name for the large ensemble arranged and conducted by Ernie Wilkins that accompanies the huge sound of Sonny Rollins. The energy within the leader's gospel-flavored shout "Grand Street" is considerable, while a swinging but no less powerful version of George & Ira Gershwin's "Who Cares" features a choice solo by guitarist Rene Thomas. Also added to this compilation are trio recordings with bassist Henry Grimes and drummer Specs Wright, including a brilliant leisurely stroll through "Manhattan," along with Rollins' tour de force unaccompanied tenor sax on "Body and Soul."