Doxy / Emarcy
Release date: October 28th 2008
Availability: CD, MP3 Download, iTunes
Being a saxophone legend at the forefront of jazz for over 50 years is good but not as good as having a vast archive of the hundreds of hours of great live performances that you have made during that time. That's the enviable position that Sonny Rollins finds himself in with a host of hitherto unreleased material recorded from the boards used to balance the sound at his live concerts and from over 400 recordings made by Carl Smith, a private collector who claims that there is an "unknown Sonny" - inspired by the example of the legendary band leader and saxophonist Louis Jordan - that you only get to experience when listening to the live performances. Hence "Road Shows Volume 1" on Sonny Rollins' own Doxy Label, the first in what promises to be a series of albums bringing the best of this material to attention.
There are four Sonny Rollins originals - "Best Wishes", the previously unknown "Blossom", "Tenor Madness" which had been originally recorded with John Coltrane, and a new calypso "Nice Lady" – and three standards – "More Than You Know" (Eliscu, Rose, Robbins), "Easy Living"(Rainger, Robin) and "Some Enchanted Evening" (Rogers, Hammerstein) – all in extended versions yielding over seventy minutes of captivating performance.
The concert locations may vary – Japan, Sweden, Poland, Canada, France and the US - and the personnel may change - Clifton Anderson (trombone), Mark Soskin, Stephen Scott (piano), Bobby Broom (guitar), Bob Cranshaw , Jerome Harris, Christian McBride (bass), Al Foster, Victor Lewis, Perry Wilson, Steve Jordan, Roy Haynes (drums), Kimati Dinizulu, Victor See-Yuen (percussion) are all featured along the way– but the innovation and creative energy of Sonny Rollins' playing is a constant.
Ending with what may well be the highlight – a saxophone trio version of "Some Enchanted Evening" taken from the 2007 Carnegie Hall 50th anniversary concert backed by Christian McBride and Roy Haynes – this is a seminal glimpse into this neglected side of this great saxophonist's career. Highly recommended.
Additional information, with comments by Sonny Rollins and a number of the backing musicians, is given in Bret Primack's video promo for the album:
Our review of Sonny Rollins: "Tenor Madness"
Our review of Sonny Rollins: "Freedom Suite"
To preview and purchase "Road Shows Vol. 1" on CD at amazon:
To preview and purchase "Road Shows Vol. 1" on MP3 at amazon:
To preview and purchase " Road Shows Vol. 1" at iTunes:
Sonny Rollins discography
Sonny Rollins home page
Feature on Carl Smith's collection of Sonny Rollins material
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