Sonny Rollins: The Sound of Sonny (2002)
The opener marks the first experiments with the pianoless trio that Rollins pioneered; another track, “The Last Time I Saw Paris”, is his first unaccompanied solo on record. The other selections feature the recorded debut of Sonny Clark, a gifted pianist who has recently enjoyed quite a bit of posthumous acclaim due to several Blue Note reissues. However, this is clearly Rollins’ show and, like his other recordings from the time, all the sidemen (Clark included) seem like hired guns rather than important contributors. Rollins as always displays a knack for turning unorthodox tunes into unlikely vehicles for improvisation, as the gentle bounce of “Toot, Toot, Tootsie” and the loping Carribean funk of “Mangoes” attest.
Rollins later struggled to find an appropriate forum for his talents when up-and-comers had built upon his advances, but this record clearly shows an important figure at the top of his game.
Track Listing: The Last Time I Saw Paris, Just in Time, Toot, Toot, Tootsie, What Is There To Say?, Dearly Beloved, Every Time We Say Goodbye, Cutie, It Could Happen To You, Mangoes, Funky Hotel Blues.
Personnel: Sonny Rollins-tenor saxophone; Sonny Clark-piano; Percy Heath, Paul Chambers-bass; Roy Haynes-drums.
Record Label: Fantasy Jazz