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Sonny Rollins Recommendations?

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the one with the songs I listed was originally a Verve, and released, originally, on a VSP LP - and it's much better, IMHO, than the Atlantic (Bags Groove, Night in Tunisia, as I recall), in which he sounds off-balance - have you guys listened to it lately? It's Rollins at his absolute peak - You Are Too Beautiful is astounding, as is everything else on there -

Edited by AllenLowe

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Thanks. I've never heard that one.

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the one with the songs I listed was originally a Verve, and released, originally, on a VSP LP - and it's much better, IMHO, than the Atlantic (Bags Groove, Night in Tunisia, as I recall), in which he sounds off-balance - have you guys listened to it lately? It's Rollins at his absolute peak - You Are Too Beautiful is astounding, as is everything else on there -

I like that session quite a lot as well (although it is the same session that Jim S. said that doesn't care for above). It has been released in several forms, including on Metrojazz (Sonny Rollins and the Big Brass) and Verve

061835.jpgsony%20045.jpg

Edited by John L

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For me personally, I can't narrow it down to two because each album has its own uniqueness to it, and not one album is like any other. In other words, everything mentioned here is worthy but if you're like me, you'll eventually end up with the Prestige box, the RCA box, and the Freelance Years, as well as his work for Impulse and Blue Note. (I'm probably the only one on the planet who doesn't particularly care for his Blue Note output, except for Volume 2 and that only because of Art Blakey more than anything else)

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I like that session quite a lot as well (although it is the same session that Jim S. said that doesn't care for above). It has been released in several forms, including on Metrojazz (Sonny Rollins and the Big Brass) and Verve

061835.jpgsony%20045.jpg

Nope, the Big Brass album is another one altogether, at least as an LP. One side w/big band (ar. Ernie Wilkins), the other a trio w/Grimes &...who? I forget... but the other Music Inn date w/the MJQ was origianlly half a side of a Metro LP (IIRC) & only saw CD issue as part of a Big Brass reissue...one fo the Verve Deluxe Editions, or what ever they called them....

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- Saxophone Colossus (Prestige)

- Way Out West (Contemporary)

- Sonny Meets Hawk! (RCA)

- Newk's Time (Blue Note)

- Freedom Suite (Riverside)

- A Nigth at the Village Vanguard (Complete) (Blue Note)

The three first are on SACD. Great sound even is the best CD version of "Saxophone Colossus" was on DCC gold CD and still is (seems than, 24 gold karat is better than 24 bit remastered!)

Edited by P.L.M

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Anybody who doesn't object in principle to a touch of rock/r&b in their music has GOT to hear G-Man, either in the album of the same name or in the aforementioned Silver City compilation. Go find a 30 second sample on Amazon or Allmusic.com and play it twice. There is a strong possibility you will have to have it RIGHT NOW. We're not talking Grover or Sanborn here, just energy and simplicity and groove. The closest comparison that comes to mind for me is McCoy Tyner's Walk Spirit, Talk Spirit.

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Lots of good suggestions here...

Nobody has mentioned my favorite Impulse! Rollins yet, East Broadway Run Down. Elvin Jones! Jimmy Garrison!

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G-Man, rght, that's a good one. And has anyone mentioned East Broadway Rundown? Another good one that doesn't get much notice.

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- Saxophone Colossus (Prestige)

- Way Out West (Contemporary)

- Sonny Meets Hawk! (RCA)

- Newk's Time (Blue Note)

- Freedom Suite (Riverside)

- A Nigth at the Village Vanguard (Complete) (Blue Note)

A great list, that. I would add only Alfie and maybe you should check out The Bridge as well.

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It's all good - at least up to a certain point in time, imo. I'll just throw in a mention of Tour de Force - one that deserves listening to.

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I wouldn't necessarily get these next, but I really enjoy some of the RCA titles and second their recommendations - Quartets with Jim Hall, Our Man in Jazz, and Sonny Meets Hawk!.

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Ok, the other Rollins/MJQ side (not counting the earlier encounter on Prestige...): Sonny Rollins At Music Inn/Teddy Edwards at Falcoln's Lair With Joe Castro Metrojazz SE 1011

Only place to get it (and w/o the Teddy Edwards half of the album (still not on CD at all AFAIK, at least not legitmately) is on the VME of the Big Brass date, wher is is all but ignored in the packaging and barely touched upon in the liner notes.

AtFalconsLair.jpg

French 10" LP, minus the Teddy Edwards cutes:

Sonny-Rollins-At-Music-Inn-373461.jpg

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It's all good - at least up to a certain point in time, imo. I'll just throw in a mention of Tour de Force - one that deserves listening to.

Agree, I was listening to Plus 4 last night. Sonny with Max Roach and Clifford Brown and it doesn't get a mention?

Still prefer the 60's titles.

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I like that session quite a lot as well (although it is the same session that Jim S. said that doesn't care for above). It has been released in several forms, including on Metrojazz (Sonny Rollins and the Big Brass) and Verve

061835.jpgsony%20045.jpg

Nope, the Big Brass album is another one altogether, at least as an LP. One side w/big band (ar. Ernie Wilkins), the other a trio w/Grimes &...who? I forget... but the other Music Inn date w/the MJQ was origianlly half a side of a Metro LP (IIRC) & only saw CD issue as part of a Big Brass reissue...one fo the Verve Deluxe Editions, or what ever they called them....

Thanks for that correction. I have it on the Big Brass CD, and therefore was confused about the various LP releases. Still, the Verve Music Inn date with the MJQ is also the one that Allen is talking about. Right? Doxy, Limehouse Blues, I'll Follow My Secret Heart, You are Too Beautiful.

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Yeah, only Verve & MGM were separate entities at the time. But htats for the ners. ;)

I always found it weird that Brass/Trio was sorta always there in reissue form (remember all the sensibly priced Japanese Verve LP imports of the late 70s/early 80s?) but the Music Inn date was treated like it never even existed. Even during the CD boom it was ignored until the VME, and then tacked on as an afterthought. But that was before I learned that it was only half a lp...

Listening to it now, and...it's ok, but...Sonny sounds like he's accommodating Lewis & Kay (and oh BTW, no Bags on these cuts, I forgot about that). Maybe it was the setting, maybe it was the accompaniment,I don't know, but it doesn't sound like unfettered Sonny to me...like the mind is really free. "Limehouse" is like he's practically begging Kay to join in, and then when he doesn't (no snare drum, wtf?), downshifts into an A+ version of B+ Rollins. Or the other way around...Gorgeous tone on "You are Too Beautiful", though. To die for.

The thing I've noticed about Rollins from 58 & 59 is that you can often hear him start to flirt with more abstract phrasologies & tonal shadings, but then he pulls back and goes into what by then was becoming some (for him) pretty predictable mechanisms...as if he knew where he wanted to be but didn't yet have a handle on it yet, which makes the sabbatical perfectly logical, as does the staggering virtuosity of the best 60s work, where abstraction and hard swing are often present in devastating measure.

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Very few recommendations of his 70s/80s output, I have very little of this period other than a 2Cd set Sonny Rollins in Japan, good date but could have been trimmed to make a killer single CD.

359300.jpg

What would be top recommendations from this period?

Edited by Clunky

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yes, John L - the titles I was referring to are:

Doxy, Limehouse Blues, I'll Follow My Secret Heart, You are Too Beautiful.

I don't know - these seem to me to be peak Sonny, of that era.

my favorite all time playing of Sonny is a film clip that must be available somewhere, from the 1960s, playing Three Little Words.

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Very few recommendations of his 70s/80s output, I have very little of this period other than a 2Cd set Sonny Rollins in Japan, good date but could have been trimmed to make a killer single CD.

359300.jpg

What would be top recommendations from this period?

It was a killer single LP...

Get the Silver City box for the best of the 70s/80s stuff, Shortest distance between two points.

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yes, John L - the titles I was referring to are:

Doxy, Limehouse Blues, I'll Follow My Secret Heart, You are Too Beautiful.

I don't know - these seem to me to be peak Sonny, of that era.

my favorite all time playing of Sonny is a film clip that must be available somewhere, from the 1960s, playing Three Little Words.

That clip is probably from the Copenhagen '65 video available on the Jazz Icons Rollins DVD. Marvelous trio set with NHOP and Aln Dawson.

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Nice to see all the '60s recommendations here...there was a time when "everybody" was asleep on that stuff...

You kids today ;) don't understand how much the "CD reissue boom" has changed the landscape as far as "general understanding" of the music goes. Positively and otherwise.

Apropos of this comment, I would add that, personally, if metaphysics allowed me to choose any period to hear Sonny live on a good night, it would unquestionably be in the mid '60s.

I am deeply glad too, hearing the rising consideration for Rollins' work of the '60s, his last great, major period of creativity.

Often -and mainly in the past, maybe- this 'middle' period has been overlooked because of the masterpieces in the previous decade, the hystorical collaborations he had (Davis, Silver, Monk, Roach etc.) and maybe because it gets close to the fusion years, the lower inspiration Rollins' music showed (it had to happen one day) in the '70s, after the second rertire from the musical scene.

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Nice to see all the '60s recommendations here...there was a time when "everybody" was asleep on that stuff...

You kids today ;) don't understand how much the "CD reissue boom" has changed the landscape as far as "general understanding" of the music goes. Positively and otherwise.

Apropos of this comment, I would add that, personally, if metaphysics allowed me to choose any period to hear Sonny live on a good night, it would unquestionably be in the mid '60s.

I am deeply glad too, hearing the rising consideration for Rollins' work of the '60s, his last great, major period of creativity.

Often -and mainly in the past, maybe- this 'middle' period has been overlooked because of the masterpieces in the previous decade, the hystorical collaborations he had (Davis, Silver, Monk, Roach etc.) and maybe because it gets close to the fusion years, the lower inspiration Rollins' music showed (it had to happen one day) in the '70s, after the second rertire from the musical scene.

The merit of Sonny's playing since the second sabbatical has been much debated here in other threads, but since I'm quoted above I want to say for the record that while I think that Sonny's greatest playing came in the '60s and this is the period I would choose if I could only choose one, I would not at all characterize those years as "his last great, major period of creativity" with the implication that all that came after represents a period of decline. The later work is far more inconsistent to be sure and there are various other issues, especially with the recordings and the quality of certain sidemen, but it is still great. A different kind of great, but great nonetheless. At times genius great. To cite one example, the opening track on "Road Shows" -- "Best Wishes" (Tokyo, 1986) -- contains some of the finest, most explosive and sheer authoritative playing on every level that Sonny has ever produced. What I really want to hear is the rest of that particular concert.

Edited by Mark Stryker

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yes, John L - the titles I was referring to are:

Doxy, Limehouse Blues, I'll Follow My Secret Heart, You are Too Beautiful.

I don't know - these seem to me to be peak Sonny, of that era.

my favorite all time playing of Sonny is a film clip that must be available somewhere, from the 1960s, playing Three Little Words.

That clip is probably from the Copenhagen '65 video available on the Jazz Icons Rollins DVD. Marvelous trio set with NHOP and Aln Dawson.

Here's a brief taste -- on fire! This is exactly the Sonny I was thinking about when I mentioned having to choose just one period of his playing.

Edited by Mark Stryker

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I had an interesting conversation once with Jamil Nasser about Sonny in this transitional period - Jamil said, basically, that in the '60s Sonny was really thrown by Coltrane's sudden and overwhelming dominance as THE tenor player, as Sonny had been the king of the hill prior to this. This, according to Jamil, was the real reason that Sonny began his sabbaticals, started shaving his head, doing the bridge thing, et al. He was just off balance and looking for a way to get back - which he obviously did. But his post-60s decline (of course that's just IMHO) shows how much trouble American jazz musicians, who are notoriously a-historical in outlook and universal understanding (lacking the deeper and multi-artistic knowledge that a lot of people in other forms have) have once they hit some of the limits of their own initial artistic instincts.

just my theory du jour and don't get me wrong, I idolize Sonny Rollins. I just get frustrated when I look at the strange path his career has taken.

Edited by AllenLowe

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