Sonny Rollins

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Sony Rollins
LABELS: Properbox
ALBUM TITLE: Sonny Rollins: The Contemporary Leader
WORKS: The Contemporary Leader
PERFORMER: Sonny Rollins (saxophone), Jim Hall (guitar), Oscar Pettiford (bass), Max Roach (drums) etc


This new Properbox set, effectively following on from Sax Symbol, the label’s earlier Rollins set, is of particular historical importance as it straddles the period from 1959 until 1962, which saw the saxophonist withdraw from musical performance in order to resolve an artistic impasse so severe it was to drive him abruptly from the bandstand.

In his usual excellent notes (actually a detailed and articulate 28-page essay which adds all the necessary cohesion to the sequence of tracks, here programmed chronologically for the first time), Simon Spillett avoids re-initiating the speculation surrounding Rollins’s action, but instead identifies and quotes the leader’s own statements on the situation and wisely leaves it at that. The music spans a variety of groups, including the work of the trademark piano-less trio that has been transferred with exceptional clarity and warmth.

Overall, then, this is another valuable and generous package of
fine music and jazz scholarship.


Roger Thomas