Monday, January 29, 2007

Sonny Rollins: Plus Four

One of the true monumental figures of jazz who is still vibrantly recording and performing, Sonny Rollins was still an upstart tenor saxman in 1956 when he delivered Plus Four, a classic date with the Clifford Brown-Max Roach Quintet (of which he was a member). About the session, which featured Brown in one of his last recording dates, liner note writer Ira Gitler points out, “Within the overall empathy of Brown/Roach were interior connections: Roach, a master soloist himself, with all the soloists; and the bonding of Rollins and Brown.” In regards to Rollins’ playing of the standards chosen for this date, Gitler adds, “Sonny has always had a head for picking and playing old tunes but he also has used them to write his own lines. He knows a good melody when he hears one and, as a soloist, he is a melodist at any and all tempos.” Included on the disc are Rollins originals, “Valse Hot” (a scorching waltz) and the soon-to-be-standard “Pent-Up House.”

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