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Road Shows, Vol. 1

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Album Review

Sonny Rollins is featured in a variety of performances culled from his personal archives along with soundboard tapings by collector Carl Smith from concerts recorded between 1980 and his historic 50th anniversary concert at Carnegie Hall (which honored his first concert there in 1957). Rollins is in peak form on every selection, while this first compilation in what is likely to be an extensive CD series is a virtual highlight reel from over a quarter-century span of his career. He works his way through the theme of his blistering "Best Wishes" 35 times, never running short of ideas in his variations. The subtle take of "More Than You Know" cools things down a bit, showcasing longtime trombonist Clifton Anderson and guitarist Bobby Broom, followed by Rollins' explosive entrance on his powerful tenor. "Blossom" is a real find, a previously unrecorded original, heard here in a 1980 Swedish concert, an engaging piece with a strong Latin undercurrent. Rollins' revisit to "Tenor Madness" finds him throwing down the challenge to his musicians with his opening salvo, though all of them end up winners in this uptempo blues. The breezy calypso "Nice Lady" is followed by the compelling 2007 trio performance of Rodgers & Hammerstein's ballad "Some Enchanted Evening" (accompanied solely by bassist Christian McBride and drummer Roy Haynes), one of Rollins' most expressive performances on record. Every Sonny Rollins fan should consider this collection essential.


Born: 07 September 1930 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Sonny Rollins will go down in history as not only the single most enduring tenor saxophonist of the bebop and hard bop era, but also as one of the greatest contemporary jazz saxophonists of them all. His fluid and harmonically innovative ideas, effortless manner, and easily identifiable and accessible sound have influenced generations of performers, but have also fueled the notion that mainstream jazz music can be widely enjoyed, recognized, and proliferated. Born Theodore Walter Rollins in New York...
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