18 Songs, 2 Hours 8 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Tenor saxophone behemoth Sonny Rollins was pioneering the pianoless trio at the time of these 1957 shows. Night at the Village Vanguard is both his live album debut and the first commercial concert recording to be captured at the subterranean Manhattan jazz institution. With either Elvin Jones or Pete La Roca on drums and Wilbur Ware or Donald Bailey on double bass, Rollins deftly deconstructs standards like “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “I’ll Remember April” with inspired fury. Rollins’ initial tireless examination of “What Is This Thing Called Love?” is followed by Jones’ masterful drum solo, while Ware’s subtle support and perfect note choices radiate on “I Can’t Get Started,” the album’s sole ballad.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Tenor saxophone behemoth Sonny Rollins was pioneering the pianoless trio at the time of these 1957 shows. Night at the Village Vanguard is both his live album debut and the first commercial concert recording to be captured at the subterranean Manhattan jazz institution. With either Elvin Jones or Pete La Roca on drums and Wilbur Ware or Donald Bailey on double bass, Rollins deftly deconstructs standards like “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “I’ll Remember April” with inspired fury. Rollins’ initial tireless examination of “What Is This Thing Called Love?” is followed by Jones’ masterful drum solo, while Ware’s subtle support and perfect note choices radiate on “I Can’t Get Started,” the album’s sole ballad.

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About Sonny Rollins

For generations, Sonny Rollins has not only set the standard on tenor saxophone—he's elevated jazz as a whole, embodying what many regard as the essence of a great improviser. Schooled on the job by Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk, the NYC-born Rollins landed a key gig with the Clifford Brown-Max Roach Quintet in 1955. But even in the midst of huge success, he strove to play better—to be truer to his creative intentions. Possessed of a monastic self-discipline, Rollins took sabbaticals for practice and introspection, most famously from 1959 to 1961, when he could be seen woodshedding on the Williamsburg Bridge in New York. He strove for a more joyously melodic approach and a big sound while showing daunting facility with the harmonic demands of bebop and post-bebop. He reconciles influences from calypso to free jazz to pop, and he can transform the simplest showtune into a thing of enduring beauty. And a half-century of yoga practice also opened doors in his work to a more authentic expression of the self: witness his endurance on the solo intro to “Autumn Nocturne,” from 1978's Don’t Stop the Carnival, for an almost meditative experience.

HOMETOWN
New York, NY
GENRE
Jazz
BORN
September 7, 1930

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