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Sonny Rollins played in the influential Clifford Brown—Max Roach Quintet from late 1955 until mid-1957, when Brown and Bud Powell’s brother, pianist Richie Powell tragically perished in an automobile accident. About halfway through his tenure with the band, Rollins took the group into the studio under his direction for a recital that produced two jazz standards, "Valse Hot" and "Pent-Up House." Sonny Rollins Plus 4 was recorded in a single session March 22, 1956 at Rudy Van Gelder’s Hackensack studio.
Fantasy, Inc. has chosen this classic for remastering and re-release. It could not have happened to a better recording. The digital remastering has brightened and sharpened this recording as it has all of the remaster re-releases by the label. The aural picture of Max Roach is tightened up considerably and pianist Richie Powell is drawn out of the murk. Of course Newk and Brownie are highly polished here. "Valse Hot" is kicked up several more degrees as "Kiss and Run" and the astonishing "Pent-up House."
This is music of biblical import in understanding how jazz became what it is. The Clifford Brown—Max Roach Quintet existed as a short lived quasar, providing spring boards for two great talents in Roach and Rollins and epitaphs for two others, Brown and Powell. A rare and affordable treat that should be imbibed deeply.
Track Listing: Valse Hot; Kiss and run; I Feel a Song Comin
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.