390

Sonny Rollins: Tenor Titan

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
Despite his popularity as a performer, an unsatisfied Sonny Rollins took a three year hiatus from performing and recording to hone his technique. The image of him practicing on the Williamsburg Bridge during this period is one of jazz's enduring reference points. Once he returned in 1962, Rollins signed with RCA and released a series of albums that document uneven years of growth where he experimented with lineups and adopted the techniques of Ornette Coleman to his own style.

The recording of "All The Things You Are" with Coleman Hawkins points to the trouble with Rollins during this time; Hawk solos beautifully, but is crowded out by Rollins' obtrusive noodling. What we really want to hear is Rollins sounding more like Hawk, not deliberately trying to overwhelm him in abstraction. Rollins also picked up guitarist Jim Hall instead of a pianist, but Hall is simply too delicate to deal with the bullish tenor, and Rollins comes off sounding undermanned. The set also features a few tunes recorded with Don Cherry, again with no piano, in a very Coleman-like setting— which will make most people reach for The Shape Of Jazz to Come instead—and some mediocre dabblings with a choir.

Despite the growing pains of these recordings, there are a few highlights; a trio recording of "St. Thomas" and a lovely version of "God Bless The Child" with Hall hearken back to the classic Prestige years and are perfect examples of why Rollins is hailed as one of the greatest improvisers in jazz. Rollins eventually found a happy medium between his avant-garde leanings and his post- bop past, but much of Rollins' RCA material is inferior to his substantial body of work. Pick up any of the Prestige records instead.


See Combing the Bluebird Catalog for related reviews.
Visit www.bluebirdjazz.com on the web.


Track Listing: 1. St. Thomas 2. Four 3. Long Ago And Far Away 4. All The Things You Are 5. The Bridge 6. God Bless The Child 7. Dearly Beloved 8. Blue 'n' Boogie 9. Bluesongo 10. Don't Stop the Carnival.

Personnel: Sonny Rollins-tenor sax; various others.

Title: Tenor Titan | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Bluebird


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Slægt CD/LP/Track Review Slægt
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 24, 2017
Read An Eye on the Future CD/LP/Track Review An Eye on the Future
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 24, 2017
Read Cherry ‎– Sakura CD/LP/Track Review Cherry ‎– Sakura
by John Sharpe
Published: September 24, 2017
Read Blow, Strike & Touch CD/LP/Track Review Blow, Strike & Touch
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 24, 2017
Read Elusive CD/LP/Track Review Elusive
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Transitions CD/LP/Track Review Transitions
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 23, 2017
Read "The Catfish" CD/LP/Track Review The Catfish
by Chris Mosey
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "The Imperfect Sea" CD/LP/Track Review The Imperfect Sea
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 4, 2017
Read "Groovin’ Hard - Live at the Penthouse 1964 - 1968" CD/LP/Track Review Groovin’ Hard - Live at the Penthouse 1964 - 1968
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 11, 2017
Read "No Favorites!" CD/LP/Track Review No Favorites!
by Troy Collins
Published: November 27, 2016
Read "Heritage" CD/LP/Track Review Heritage
by James Nadal
Published: October 3, 2016
Read "Backlog" CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 17, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.