SACD Number: Mobile Fidelity Hybrid UDSACD 2006/Mono
By general acclaim, Sonny Rollins is regarded as one of the jazz greats or jazz giants. Rollins has often been called the greatest living saxophonist of his era. The "quartet" of true jazz great tenor saxophonists is comprised of Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Rollins and later on John Coltrane. He had switched from alto to tenor saxophone before making his first recording back in 1948 and in the seventies he began playing soprano.
This album, originally released on the Prestige label is undoubtedly one of the top dozen albums featuring Sonny. The reasons are many and as expected include one of Sonny Rollins better performances. To that must be added the outstanding quartet of sidemen performing here and at least two of them must also be considered jazz giants! Included are two of Rollins' compositions, "Pent-Up House" and "Valse Hat". The other three selections are "Kiss and Run", "Count Your Blessings" and "I Feel a Song Coming On". Personally, I particularly like the latter two pieces, as I am particularly fond of jazz take-offs or improvisations of songs that I know the vocals. It intrigues me to hear bits and pieces of the originally sung music and what good jazz musicians do to it or for it. My classical music leanings insist that it is a "theme and variations and is the same thing as my favorite Rachmaninoff composition "Rhapsody (variations) On A Theme By Paganini". Jazz lovers should search out that music and let me know what you think. Later on you can try some Bach compositions.
Any of the thousands of Sonny Rollins lovers out there will need to pick up this fine album. This new Mobile Fidelity remastered recording, playable on SACD and regular CD players, will give you every nuance of his great saxophone playing. For newcomers to the great Sonny Rollins I would mention his great versatility and style, which varies with different recording date time-periods. One reference book had listed him as the great tenor saxophonist known for his Bop, Hard Bop and Post-Bop,Bop. Oh no, I add at least Soul Jazz, Jazz Rock and Latin and his composing ability. This album would usually be listed as representing one of the finest Hard Bop groups of all time. Newcomers contemplating their first Sonny Rollins album might better consider one of his many albums recorded a little later on featuring a mature stereo recording setup for a more realistic soundscape spread for better overall listening enjoyment. Mobile Fidelity has undoubtedly done all that can be done for this relatively early great jazz group's recording.