still remains one of the greatest improvisers to ever wield an instrument. And why is that? The answer is simple: Rollins is forever in a state of becoming. He's the rare player who doesn't play towards a destination; he plays for the journey, and his journeys are epic and legendary.
While that's hardly news to any longtime jazz fans, those who need a reminder need look no further than Rollins' Road Showscompilations of live performances cherry-picked by the man himself. These albums have helped to further his already-sterling reputation as a concert artist. In the studio, Rollins may always feel like he's forced to manufacture a moment, but on the stage, he exists in the moment, and that's the Sonny Rollins that shines through on these offerings.
Road Shows, Vol. 1 (Doxy, 2008) was incredibly broad in scope, pulling together music that spanned nearly three decades. Road Shows, Vol. 2 (Doxy, 2011) looked to a specific point in time, focusing in on late 2010, when Rollins turned eighty. Now, the highly anticipated third volume arrives. Here, listeners receive a post-millennial survey of Sonny Rollins' goings-on, as the album covers the eleven year span from 2001 to 2012.
Virtually all of the Rollins hallmarks are highlighted during this six song program. "Biji," a winner recorded at a concert in Japan in 2001, serves as an exuberant swing-to-funk starter. A 2007 "Someday I'll Find You" follows, with Rollins' horn exuding beauty and soul in seemingly effortless fashion. Percussionist Kimati Dinizulu's wind chimes and shakers are a bit of a distraction on that one, but they don't dampen the spirit of the performance. Next is "Patanjali," a steady churn-and-groove number that's appearing for the first time on record here; it's essentially a vamp that gives Rollins a platform to stand on while he blows.
The second half of the album opens with an eight-and-a-half minute Rollins cadenzathe simply titled "Solo Sonny." Quotes-a-plenty appear here, but Rollins' daydreams serve as the connective tissue between them. A version of "Why Was I Born?" finds everybody in high spirits; it's an upbeat gem that doesn't want to end. Guitarist Bobby Broom
have a ball batting solos back and forth, and a good time is had by all. The final tracka brief-and-almost-satisfying "Don't Stop The Carnival"is a snapshot of a Rollins calypso. It's pure positivity, like Rollins himself.
Track Listing: Biji; Someday I'll Find You; Patanjali; Solo Sonny; Why Was I Born?; Don't Stop The
Personnel: Sonny Rollins: tenor saxophone; Clifton Anderson: trombone; Bob Cranshaw: bass;
Stephen Scott: piano (1); Perry Wilson: drums (1); Kimati Dinizulu: percussion (1, 2, 5);
Bobby Broom: guitar (2, 4, 5); Victor Lewis: drums (2); Peter Bernstein: piano (3, 6);