6 Songs, 1 Hour 12 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Sonny Rollins has been famously critical of his playing in the studio. He has finally just sidestepped the process altogether with the Road Shows series, which collects strong versions of songs from various live concerts around the world. While the first one spanned 27 years and the second one focused on 2010 and included material from his 80th-birthday concert, this one finds the saxophone colossus circa 2001-2012 with his sextet of rotating but regular players. Rollins is famous for his mastery of thematic improvisation, which often incorporates melodies from different songs, and fans get an unadulterated dose of this on the eight-and-half-minute “Solo Sonny.” But it’s the lengthy “Why Was I Born” where the saxophonist is at his zenith, gleefully trading twos with drummer Steve Jordan in a duel that could have gone on forever. Along with a mix of standards and originals, Rollins always seems to include a calypso in his shows; things close out with a brief but rewarding take on the classic “Don’t Stop the Carnival.” A recording of Rollins happy and in full flight, this is the next best thing to being there.

Mastered for iTunes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Sonny Rollins has been famously critical of his playing in the studio. He has finally just sidestepped the process altogether with the Road Shows series, which collects strong versions of songs from various live concerts around the world. While the first one spanned 27 years and the second one focused on 2010 and included material from his 80th-birthday concert, this one finds the saxophone colossus circa 2001-2012 with his sextet of rotating but regular players. Rollins is famous for his mastery of thematic improvisation, which often incorporates melodies from different songs, and fans get an unadulterated dose of this on the eight-and-half-minute “Solo Sonny.” But it’s the lengthy “Why Was I Born” where the saxophonist is at his zenith, gleefully trading twos with drummer Steve Jordan in a duel that could have gone on forever. Along with a mix of standards and originals, Rollins always seems to include a calypso in his shows; things close out with a brief but rewarding take on the classic “Don’t Stop the Carnival.” A recording of Rollins happy and in full flight, this is the next best thing to being there.

Mastered for iTunes
TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

4.4 out of 5

7 Ratings

7 Ratings

Brilliant!

Christy Kelly

One of Sonny's great achievements!!!! A wonder filled with genius!!!!

Too good for words. Just listen and smile

LisawithanL

No one compares to Sonny. This is the best of the best!

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

Songs

Albums

Listeners Also Bought