Saturday, January 21, 2017

Sonny Rollins - A Night at the Village Vanguard

Sonny Rollins, one of jazz's great tenors, is heard here at his peak with a pair of piano-less trios (either Wilbur Ware or Donald Bailey on bass and Elvin Jones or Pete La Roca on drums) stretching out on particularly creative versions of "Old Devil Moon," "Softly As in a Morning Sunrise," "Sonnymoon for Two," and "A Night in Tunisia," among others. Not only did Rollins have a very distinctive sound but his use of time, his sly wit, and his boppish but unpredictable style were completely his own by 1957. Truly magical. [Originally released as separate albums, A Night at the Village Vanguard has also been reissued in its entirety, complete with alternate takes.] - by Scott Yanow, AMG

The recording that resulted documents two shows in the afternoon and evening of November 3, 1957. Rollins employed different bands for the two shows. The afternoon show sported Donald Bailey on bass and Pete (La Roca) Sims on drums and the only contribution to the whole by this band is the opening "Night in Tunisia." The remainder of the recording is all Wilbur Ware on Bass and Elvin Jones on Drums. the recently released rudy Van Gelder Edition is superior to all previous releases of this material. Included here is all of the pre-song banter showing a 27 year old Rollins wowing his crowd. Also, previously edited material is restored and situated in chronologic order. All of this is dryly technical, but the music is not. This is virile and daring music performed with the hubris of youth and genius. The nakedness of the Tenor Trio is justly daunting. But, to masters of this ilk, the trio format offers that additional dimension of creativity— finding what is important in melody and harmony. Charlie Parker is barely in the grave two years befor these sides were cut. "A Night in Tunisia," "Woody 'N' You," and "I Can't Get Started" sound fresh and new. Rollins's tenor was always larger than life in a most attractive way, unlike Coltrane. His tone was full and sexy and rough and exciting on this evening in November, 1957, and so was his genius. - by Michael Bailey, AllAboutJazz.com

Artist: Sonny Rollins
Album: A Night At The Village Vanguard
Year: 1957
Label: Blue Note Records (1999, RVG Renmastered)
Runtime: 131:56

Tracks:
1.  A Night in Tunisia (Dizzy Gillespie/Frank Paparelli) 8:16
2.  I've Got You Under My Skin (Cole Porter) 10:03
3.  A Night in Tunisia (Evening Take) (Dizzy Gillespie/Frank Paparelli) 9:03
4.  Softly As In A Morning Sunrise (Oscar Hammerstein II/Sigmund Romberg) 6:43
5.  Four (Miles Davis) 8:26
6.  Introduction 0:20
7.  Woody 'n' You (Dizzy Gillespie) 8:29
8.  Introduction 0:36
9.  Old Devil Moon (E.Y. "Yip" Harburg/Burton Lane)  8:21
10.  What Is This Thing Called Love (Cole Porter) 14:03
11.  Softly As In A Morning Sunrise (Oscar Hammerstein II/Sigmund Romberg) 8:03
12.  Sonnymoon For Two (Sonny Rollins) 8:46
13.  I Can't Get Started (Vernon Duke/Ira Gershwin) 4:54
14.  I'll Remember April (Gene DePaul/Patricia Johnston/Don Raye) 9:20
15.  Get Happy (Harold Arlen/Ted Koehler) 9:08
16.  Striver's Row (Sonny Rollins) 5:59
17.  All The Things You Are (Oscar Hammerstein II/Jerome Kern) 6:46
18.  Get Happy (Short Version) (Harold Arlen/Ted Koehler) 4:40

Personnel:
Sonny Rollins (Tenor Saxophone)
Elvin Jones (Drums) - 2-18
Wilbur Ware (Double Bass) - 2-18
Donald Bailey (Double Bass) - 1
Pete La Roca (Drums) - 1

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