Mid 50s genius from Sonny Rollins – 5 albums in a single set, all presented in LP-styled sleeves! Worktime is a record that perfectly illustrates why Rollins was one of the greatest players on his horn for many decades running! There's a depth of tone on the record that rivals Coleman Hawkins or Lester Young – but a quickness of pace and imagination that shows a clear influence from Charlie Parker, and a deftness that few were bringing to the tenor at the time. The rhythm section here is super tight – and features Ray Bryant on piano, George Morrow on bass, and Max Roach on drums – all supporting Rollins' bold lead with lines that bristle with electricity
, but still often fall back to let the sound of the tenor envelop the whole group. Tracks are longish, and titles include "Raincheck", "There Are Such Things", "Paradox", and "It's All Right With Me". Sonny Rollins With The Modern Jazz Quartet is an album recorded in the years 1951 and 1953, in a variety of settings! 4 tracks on the album features Rollins blowing with the MJQ, one more has him working with a Miles Davis group, and the last 8 feature a quartet with Kenny Drew, Percy Heath, and Art Blakey. The tunes are shorter than you might be used to hearing Rollins, but there's still plenty of power and imagination in the grooves – very economical solos, crafted with a great deal of imagination. Titles include "Scoops", "Shadrack", "Mambo Bounce", "The Stopper", "I Know", and "No Moe". Tenor Madness is a groundbreaking album from Rollins, largely for the extended track "Tenor Madness", which runs on for 13 minutes, and features him and Coltrane blowing head to head – redefining the sound of the tenor sax in jazz through the course of that amazing track! Backing is by the Red Garland/
Philly Joe Jones group that backed up 'Trane on many of his Prestige sides, and they work equally well with Rollins – especially on the ballads "When Your Lover Has Gone" and "My Reverie", plus the lyrical "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World". Moving Out features tracks from 2 different sessions, brought together into one album that packs a hell of a punch! The modernist Rollins tenor is at its early peak here – fresh, bold, and highly creative – yet equally concerned with the role of the ensemble as well. And with players like Kenny Dorham, Elmo Hope, Thelonious Monk, and Art Blakey helping things out, the sessions are both cookers all the way through! Titles include 4 by a group with Dorham, Hope, and Blakey – "Solid", "Movin Out", "Swingin For Bumsy", and "Silk N Satin" – plus 1 more by a quartet with Monk, Tommy Potter, and Art Taylor – the longer "More Than You Know". Last up is Saxophone Colossus, quite possibly THE greatest Sonny Rollins album of the early years – or at least the one that has received the most accolades over the years! The record is a brilliant batch of quartet tracks that reinvents bop
through Sonny's complicated, yet seemingly automatic solos – an excellent showcase for his razor-sharp talents for improvisation and invention, played with effortless ease, yet still one of the great bar-setting performances of 50s jazz. The group features Tommy Flanagan, Max Roach, and Doug Watkins – and tunes include an original reading of the perennial Rollins' standard "St. Thomas", plus a great version of "Moritat (Mack The Knife)", and the cuts "Strode Rode" and "Blue 7".