Jazz Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

June 22, 2009

"Sonny Boy" - Sonny Rollins

I picked up a copy of this at the county library a ways back and had just finally got a chance to sit down with it. What an incredible set! Rollins plays hard on this superb bop classic released in 1960, the disc contains a combination of two different recording dates from 1956, the first three cuts were already previously released. Recorded shortly after the devastating car accident that took Clifford Brown and Richie Powell... Max Roach, Sonny Rollins and George Morrow still played powerfully as Kenny Drew filled in nicely.

The album starts off with a medium tempo, straight blues called Ee-Ah to set the flavor of what's to come. It is soon followed by what makes the disc truly amazing -- the super fast tempo and insane improvisations of B. Quik and B. Swift. As much as John Coltrane was an innovator, I can't help but wonder how be-bop tunes like these influenced him, especially to record such a great cut like Countdown from Giant Steps.

Max Roach equally stands as strong as Rollins, showing why he was one of the greatest drummers to have existed. Drummers like myself owe so much to him.

Things slow down for the ballad, The House I Live In. Trumpeter, Kenny Dorham, joins Rollins and Wade Legge replaces Kenny Drew on keys. This is a straight ahead tune, and even though it is strong, it stands out the least for me on the set. The fifth and final is the title track, Sonny Boy, which displays Sonny Rollins as we know and love him. Perfectly exemplifying his sound as we can recognize in so many of his great albums.

This album screams modernity. Prestige even precariously choose a hip Abstract Expressionist-esq album cover which generates the tone contained inside the packaging. Fans of free jazz and bop should not neglect this album.
1960 - Prestige.

Sonny Rollins - Tenor Saxophone; Kenny Dorham - Trumpet; Kenny Drew, Wade Legge - Piano; George Morrow - Bass; Max Roach - Drums.

No comments: