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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby




Blue Classics

SONNY ROLLINS

PORTRAIT

BLUE Classic Line Saban crescendo 7259

  1. Dig
  2. It’s Only a Paper Moon
  3. Denial
  4. Out of the Blue
  5. Almost like being in Love
  6. In a Sentimental Mood
  7. No Moe
  8. The Stopper
  9. Friday The 13th
  10. Hackensaw, N J
  11. Scoop’s
  12. With a Song in My Heart
  13. Newk’s Fadeaway
  14. Time on My Hands
  15. This Love of Mine
  16. Shadrack
  17. Slow Boat to China
  18. Mambo Bounce
  19. I Know

Tracks 1 to 4 come from a session recorded on Oct 5th 1951, on which I strongly suggest Miles Davis was the leader; he certainly plays trumpet on them. This is a nice clean bebop sextet with Rollins on tenor and Jackie McLean on alto. Art Blakey, who was such an influence on rhythm sections of the time, drives it along. Dig turns out to be Sweet Georgia Brown under another name, but everyone solos well and it is nice to hear Miles playing so well, before jazz rock and contemporary music claimed him! On all of these tracks it is obvious that Rollins is going to grow into the great saxophone colossus he is today, on a couple of them however, he could have done with a better reed. This is a good little bebop band however and these tracks are all very enjoyable.

Tracks 5 to 8 have Rollins in the company of what either was, or became the Modern Jazz Quartet. These tracks are also excellent and the combination of two players as exciting as Rollins and Milt Jackson will always produce a good result.

The next 2 tracks have Rollins playing with the Thelonious Monk Quartet, the first track is a very poor recording, but the second is much better and worthier of this combination of great men.

Tracks 10 to17 features Rollins with Kenny Drew – Piano, Percy Heath – Bass and & Art Blakey – Drums. This is another fine session and Sonny Rollins is great form throughout, always adventurous, always looking for something new and des tined to become the star of the jazz world he is today.

The last track is a curious one, Miles Davis is on piano, but he does not solo and the track ends abruptly, it sounds like the pianist had just turned up!

Overall this is a good portrait of Sonny Rollins, but only from 1951 to 1953!

Don Mather



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