GA Russell

new Sonny Rollins due Oct. 28

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I learned today that a Sonny Rollins dvd will be released October 28 along with a live cd compilation.

I expect more details next week.

Edited by GA Russell

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Here is some of the press release I received today:

Expectations run very high at Sonny Rollins concerts, for both audiences and the saxophonist himself. Considered jazz's greatest living improviser, Rollins seizes the opportunity offered by each live performance to search for his "lost chord"; his audiences await nothing short of transcendence.

An extraordinary double dose of Rollins in concert is due on October 28, when the tenor saxophonist's Doxy Records label (distributed by Emarcy/Universal) will release a new live CD compilation entitled Road Shows, vol. 1 as well as a DVD (Live in Vienne) of a 2006 European festival performance.

Road Shows is the exciting inaugural release in a planned series of outstanding live Sonny Rollins recordings from the last 30-plus years. The seven tracks on the new CD, culled from the Carl Smith collection and Rollins's own personal soundboard tapes, were recorded in the U.S., Canada, Poland, Japan, France, and Sweden. Featuring the saxophonist with a variety of sidemen -- including, on one track, the Christian McBride-Roy Haynes trio that appeared with him at his 50th Anniversary Carnegie Hall concert in 2007 -- Road Shows captures the Saxophone Colossus in full flight, dazzling audiences around the world.

Live in Vienne was produced by French television and offers an up-close glimpse at Rollins onstage -- in high-definition video -- as he unfurls a superb hour-long set before a euphoric crowd at the 2006 Jazz à Vienne Festival. The saxophonist, who famously spent two years (1959-61) practicing on New York's Williamsburg Bridge, above the East River, finds that "playing outside is always great. But Vienne, with its Roman amphitheater, is a particularly photogenic place, a beautiful venue. The little town is on the Rhône River. And it was warm that night -- just perfect weather."

The Sonny Rollins Tape Archive

In the late 1980s, Rollins began to record many of his concerts for archival purposes with possible future release in mind, and also to circumvent bootlegs, which have been a long-standing problem for the artist. "I was much less intimidated by the tape at live concerts" than in the studio, he admits. When the tape was always rolling, "it was much easier for me to get a natural performance."

From the start the intention was to record all of Sonny's concerts. Due to unforeseen technical problems or permission problems with venues, however, it was not always possible, according to Road Shows producer (and Rollins trombonist) Clifton Anderson. Of the approximately 600 concerts Rollins has performed since the late '80s, Anderson estimates that as many as one-third are in their archive, in whole or in part.

"There were performances that at the time they were done, I thought they might be acceptable at a later date in case I chose to release," says Rollins. "But I hadn't really listened; I filed it in my mind, and later had to stir my memory as to which ones might be good."

When the time came to program the new CD, says Anderson, "we both remembered that the concert in Toulouse was a pretty good show, and Sonny remembered that Tama was a good performance, so I went back and listened to those in particular. That's how we arrived at our choices."

Four tracks from the Rollins archive are included in Road Shows, vol. 1: "More Than You Know" (2006, Toulouse), which Sonny "brought out of retirement," not having played it since the 1950s, when he recorded it with Thelonious Monk; "Tenor Madness" (2000, Tama City, Japan), whose last appearance on a Rollins disc was the live G-Man in 1987; "Nice Lady" (2007, Victoria, BC), the first recording of a new Rollins calypso; and "Some Enchanted Evening" (2007, New York City), from his 50th anniversary Carnegie Hall concert with Christian McBride and Roy Haynes.

Road Shows' remaining three tracks were selected from Carl Smith's collection -- "Blossom" (1980, Umea, Sweden), a fascinating, little-known Rollins original that "came and went pretty fast in the repertoire," says Rollins; "Easy Living" (1980, Warsaw), from Sonny's first trip behind the Iron Curtain ("the people were starved for music"); and "Best Wishes" (1986, Tokyo), previously recorded on his 1982 Reel Life album.

For future Road Shows compilations, Anderson and Rollins will have not only their own archives and Carl Smith's to draw from. "People have also submitted things to us," says Anderson, "most recently a tape from Keystone Korner in the mid-1970s and a cassette from the Bottom Line. The bands are different, the material's different; the one common denominator is Sonny killin' through all of it."

Rollins, for a chance of pace, is looking ahead to his next studio album, which he is planning to begin at the conclusion of his fall concert season (Brazil in October, Germany in November/December).

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For future Road Shows compilations, Anderson and Rollins will have not only their own archives and Carl Smith's to draw from. "People have also submitted things to us," says Anderson, "most recently a tape from Keystone Korner in the mid-1970s and a cassette from the Bottom Line. The bands are different, the material's different; the one common denominator is Sonny killin' through all of it."

I saw Rollins a bunch of times at the Village Vanguard around '73/4, and if there are any tapes of those shows, well, those were staggering. Imagine a packed club with all jaws scraping the floor as Rollins blew everyone away. He had a great band then, too, with Mtume, David Lee Jr, etc.

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It sounds like the Road Trips controversey for the Grateful Dead reissues. Should they have a great concert or snippets from different decades. I know I would like to have a recording of his big concert with Roy Haynes :& Christian McBride earlier this year. He's got a zillion great concerts. Lets get some more concerts out there.

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I have to respect an artist's decision to release only that of which he is proud...but I reserve the right to complain about it. ;)

Case in point - Mr. Rollins decided not to release his 50th Anniversary Carnegie Hall concert (which was supposed to have been paired with some of the historic performance) but then announces this attic cleaning exercise.

I'll let the music speak for itself and then decide my level of interest in this series.

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Interesting that he chose to release one song from last year's Carnegie Hall concert. Maybe he felt that the other songs were not good enough. Maybe he just doesn't like the power trio format anymore. He hasn't used it in decades, right?

Allen, you're welcome to your opinion of course. But you haven't liked anything Sonny has done since he joined Milestone forty years ago, am I right? I think it's worth something that Sonny was voted Jazzman of the Year the past two years in the Downbeat Readers Poll. If you don't like the guy, so be it.

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Surprise! I received a copy of the Roadshows vol. 1 cd today in the mail.

I love it. Three selections are from the 1980s, and four from the 2000s. Unlike his Milestone studio recordings I have heard, he never sounds like he is busting a gut. He is relaxed on all of the numbers.

It sounds like a great deal of thought was given into making the selections. I would say that it is a five star album because all of the tracks are four stars.

The cut from the 2007 Carnegie Hall show is saved for last. I feel that it is the weakest track. All of the others, although with different bands, sound like they were recorded on the same day. Sonny is in consistently good form.

Thumbs up! :tup

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On a Rollins, but somewhat unrelated, note, I have to wholeheartedly endorse the Rollins material currently available on the latest Jazz Icons box set. The Sonny disc itself contains wonderful material from the '60s, a live trio date with NHOP and Allan Dawson in '65, as well as a TV studio quartet date done in '68 with Kenny Drew, NHOP, and Al "Tootie" Heath. However, only available by purchasing the entire box set, is a bonus disc that contains two Sonny trio dates from 1959 before he went on the "Bridge" hiatus. The first date, which I have owned on a commercial videotape, is from a Stockholm TV session with Henry Grimes and Joe Harris. The second, performed in front of a live Dutch audience is with Grimes and Pete La Roca. Great stuff! (Note to Allen: If you say "no thanks' to this material, you're really missing out.)

Edited by MartyJazz

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Both of these go on sale today.

I continue to enjoy the Road Shows cd very much. The selections were well made.

My copy of the In Vienne dvd has arrived, but I haven't had the opportunity to put it on yet. It looks like there is a pretty fair amount on the disc in addition to the concert, including podcasts and an itinerary.

A couple of years ago my cd player/stereo system component died. I went to BJ's to buy a replacement, and was surprised to see that they didn't sell any. But it occurred to me that dvd players also play cd's, so I bought one of those. So I expect to play In Vienne on my stereo as often as I would a cd.

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I really enjoyed the 2006 Vienne show. An entertaining first set and a solid second set with a gorgeous sunset in between. This is undoubtedly a huge upgrade of my private audio recording :)

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I am waiting for mine from Amazon, both should be here tomorrow.

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Is there any link for discographical information on this one (i.e. band members)?

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I shouldn't be so glib, and apologies if I came off perviously here as mean-spirited - it's just that Sonny's recordings since about 1965 drive me crazy - a little good stuff, a lot of annoying stuff - actually I don't like the Milestones - I've heard him maybe 10 times since 1973 and each time I sit there and work like hell to filter out the band so I can just hear Sonny - and it's hard work -

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Is there any link for discographical information on this one (i.e. band members)?

To answer my own question:

Track Listing

Best Wishes (Sonny Rollins)

Sonny Rollins, tenor saxophone; Clifton Anderson, trombone; Mark Soskin, piano; Bobby Broom, guitar; Jerome Harris, electric bass; Al Foster, drums.

Recorded at Kosei Nenkin Hall, Tokyo, Japan; May 25, 1986

More Than You Know

Sonny Rollins, tenor saxophone, Clifton Anderson, trombone; Bobby Broom, guitar; Bob Cranshaw, bass; Victor Lewis, drums; Kimati Dinizulu, percussion.

Recorded at La Halle aux Grains, Toulouse, France; May 15, 2006

Blossom (Rollins)

Sonny Rollins, tenor saxophone; Mark Soskin, piano; Jerome Harris, electric bass; Al Foster, drums.

Recorded at Umea (Sweden) Jazz Festival; October 25, 1980

Easy Living

Sonny Rollins, tenor saxophone; Mark Soskin, piano; Jerome Harris, electric bass; Al Foster, drums.

Recorded at Congress Hall, Warsaw (Poland) Jazz Jamboree; October 23, 1980

Tenor Madness (Rollins)

Sonny Rollins, tenor saxophone; Clifton Anderson, trombone; Stephen Scott, piano; Bob Cranshaw, bass; Perry Wilson, drums; Victor See-Yuen, percussion

Recorded at Pantheon Tama, Tama City, Japan; June 8, 2000

Nice Lady (Rollins)

Sonny Rollins, tenor saxophone; Clifton Anderson, trombone; Bobby Broom, guitar; Bob Cranshaw, bass; Steve Jordan, drums; Kimati Dinizulu, percussion.

Recorded at Royal Theatre, Victoria, B.C. Canada; June 24, 2007

Some Enchanted Evening

Sonny Rollins, tenor saxophone; Christian McBride, bass; Roy Haynes, drums.

Recorded at Carnegie Hall, New York City, September 18, 2007

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I have bouught & listened to the Road Shows. I enjoy it very the much & would heartily offer endorsement and recommendations to all of my friends, real and other wise.

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Day Two of listening rewards itself with hearing this mostly marvelous music.

Recommended, even for (most of) the skeptics.

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I've been listening non-stop since release date.

Edited by bluesbro

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I have a dvd player hooked up to my stereo system instead of a cd player, so I have been listening to the In Vienne dvd quite a bit for the past week. (Vienne, by the way, is not to be confused with Vienna. Vienne is a town in France.)

I've enjoyed it quite a bit. I like the band, which is made up of Clifton Anderson on trombone, Bobby Broom on guitar, Bob Cranshaw on electric bass, Victor Lewis on drums and Kimati Dinizulu on percussion.

Unlike Road Shows, whose selections prominently feature Sonny soloing, In Vienne gives a great deal of time over to the sidemen.

There is a nice balance of ballads and flag wavers (as Art Pepper used to say).

I've got to scratch my head over the thinking of the operation of Sonny's label Doxy Records. With the first release, Sonny, Please, they first made it available for months only via download before it was available for hardcopy purchase. Then they waited two years. Now they simultaneously release two great albums!

If you only have the money for one of the new items at the present, I would say that I like Road Shows better because it has more Sonny on it. But every Sonny Rollins fan should consider getting In Vienne as well. And I suppose that as a concert dvd it is a historical document as well as a collection of great music.

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Wonderful letter, Chris! Is that one in your possession? If so how did you come into it?

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No, I'm afraid it's not in my possession. Bob Wilber shared it with me, I'll have to ask him where he got it.

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