Friday, January 13, 2012

Sonny Rollins's career "out West" in California was, at the time this session was recorded, confined mainly to playing live. He'd done one outstanding record with a California-based band (Out West) but found time to cut some tunes with Hampton Hawes, Leroy Vinnegar, Barney Kessel, and Shelly Manne. As Contemporary Records-founder Lester Koenig remarks in the liner notes, Rollins characteristically unpacked a massive sheaf of music from which to pull tunes for the session. Like Out West, the tunes are at least idiosyncratic. When's the last time a postbop pioneer played anything like "Rock-a-Bye Baby with a Dixie Melody" ? And the guitar-bass-sax trio on "I've Found a New Baby" slides off pristinely with its walking bass line, sharp strums, and Rollins's array of tongue effects and wafting tone that comes off its floating plateau to pounce on the melody repeatedly. Rollins sounds enthralled to be in this company, playing big-bodied lines and fluid loops. This is exceptional Rollins, plain and simple.
Andrew Bartlett
Source :

Sonny Rollins
& the
"Contemporary Leaders"


1 I've Told Ev'ry Little Star (Hammerstein, Kern) 5:28
2 Rock-A-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody (Lewis, Schwartz, Young) 4:55
3 How High the Moon (Hamilton, Lewis) 7:45
4 You (Adamson, Donaldson) 4:16
5 I've Found a New Baby (Palmer, Williams) 3:40
6 Alone Together (Dietz, Schwartz) 6:01
7 In the Chapel in the Moonlight (Hill) 6:41
8 The Song Is You (Hammerstein, Kern) 5:44
9 You [alternate take] Adamson, Donaldson) 4:17
10 I've Found a New Baby [alternate take] (Palmer, Williams) 4:25
11 The Song Is You [alternate take] (Hammerstein, Kern) 6:11

Sonny Rollins - ts
Barney Kessel - g
Hampton Hawes - p
Leroy Vinnegar - b
Shelly Manne - dr
Victor Feldman - vb [# 4 & 9]

Recorded in Los Angeles, California ; October 20-22, 1958

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