Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Sonny Rollins - A Night at the "Village Vanguard"

By 1957, Sonny Rollins had already been on the New York jazz scene for a number of years. Born in the Sugar Hill section of Harlem, Rollins first studied piano before changing to tenor saxophone. After rehearsing with the Thelonious Monk quartet in late 1948, Rollins was to make his recording debut backing vocalist Babs Gonzalez on a 1949 recording. During that same year, Rollins appeared with Bud Powell and Fats Navarro. Throughout the early to middle 1950s, Rollins recorded with Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Coleman Hawkins, and John Coltrane. Rollins was a member of the famous Clifford Brown Max roach combo before Brown's untimely death.
Rollins recorded first as a leader on December 16, 1956 (Sonny Rollins, Volume 1 Blue Note 81542), though he has since been credited with about a dozen releases before this date, those including Saxophone Colossus and Tenor Madness. Sonny Rollins, Volume 2 (Blue Note 81558) was released in early 1957, followed by the pianoless trio date Way Out West (Contemporary/OJC 337), recorded on March 7, 1957. By the time November of 1957 rolled around, Rollins was ready to take his trio concept to the Village Vanguard and record the performances.
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.
C. Michael Bailey

Source :

Sonny Rollins
A Night at the
"Village Vanguard"


Cd. 1

1 A Night in Tunisia (Gillespie, Paparelli)  8:16
2 I've Got You Under My Skin (Porter)  10:03
3 A Night in Tunisia [evening take] (Gillespie, Paparelli)  9:03
4 Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise [alt. take] (Hammerstein, Romberg)  6:43
5 Four (Davis)  8:26
6 Introduction  0:20
7 Woody 'N You (Gillespie)  8:29
8 Introduction  0:36
9 Old Devil Moon (Harburg, Lane)  8:19


Cd. 2

1 What Is This Thing Called Love ? (Porter)  14:03
2 Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise (Hammerstein, Romberg)  8:03
3 Sonnymoon for Two (Rollins)  8:46
4 I Can't Get Started (Duke, Gershwin, Jones)  4:54
5 I'll Remember April (Raye, DePaul, Johnston, Johnston)  9:20
6 Get Happy (Koehler, Arlen)  9:08
7 Striver's Row (Rollins)  5:59
8 All the Things You Are (Hammerstein, Kern)  6:46
9 Get Happy [short version] (Arlen, Koehler)  4:38


Sonny Rollins - ts
Donald Bailey [cd. 1, # 1] & Wilbur Ware - b [other]
Pete LaRoca - dr [cd. 1, # 1] & Elvin Jones - dr [other]

Recorded at the Village Vanguard, New York City ; November 3, 1957


Melanchthon said...

Cd. 1 + artwork
Cd. 2

erasmus said...

a sonny rollins that i don't have, never had. big thanks!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Sonny Rollins! 86 today.

Peter said...

Dear Melanchthon,

great stuff, thank you very much.

Pedro del Castillo Alonso said...

Thank you very much for your flac files!!

deGallo said...

Great upgrade!! Thank you.

kike said...

Thanks Mel!

cvllos said...

Dear Melanchthon
We were young and this strange sound, absolutely rough and agressive in opposite to Getz, shocked our ears although atracted us too. Time has passed and sax improvisations had a tremendous evolution; maybe Sonny was his pioneer. Thanks, 'cause I'm not shure to have this important recording.

Kovina Kris said...

This is one of those must-haves and is an upgrade for me. Thank you!

Jazzsoulman said...

Thank You