Nice two-fer that combines 2 great sides from Rollins
' RCA years. What's New? is a unique album from Sonny Rollins
– one that features him blowing tenor over some Latin-based rhythms that have a tight uptempo feel. The core group on the album features Jim Hall on guitar, Bob Cranshaw on bass, and Ben Riley on drums – but they're augmented by larger arrangements that mix together bossa nova and calypso rhythms, which forge a surprisingly great background for Rollins
' gutsy tenor. Although it's easy to dismiss the record as a throwaway cash-in affair on the Latin boom of the early 60s – Rollins
actually handles himself wonderfully, and the longer-than-usual tracks on the album show a whole new side of his talents that were later reprised on Latin sessions during the 70s. Titles include "Bluesongo", "Jungoso", "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes", and "Brownskin Girl". Our Man In Jazz is one of Sonny Rollins
' best albums ever, and a totally inspired, totally non-stop freewheeling live set, recorded with Don Cherry, Bob Cranshaw, and Billy Higgins. Rollins
' hits one of those rare moments of genius where he can turn his solo over and over again, never losing interest, and always opening up new territory. Thankfully, the three tracks on the album are long enough to let him get enough creative action in. Titles include "Oleo", "Dearly Beloved", and "Doxy".
(French RCA pressing. Front cover seams are unglued, but cover is great overall.)