Friday, January 30, 2009

Road Shows, Vol. 1

Our greatest living improviser, Sonny Rollins seems only to have sharpened and deepened his glorious sound as he enters his 79th year. It is the paradox and the beauty of the saxophone that it can simultaneously achieve a ringing metallic intensity, warmth, and fluidity, and no one has perfected the sound the way Sonny has. Road Shows, Vol. I, collects live performances from 1980 to 2007, and the energy and excitement is evident in every cut. The unaccompanied flights of fancy, the high-pressure honking and wailing, the witty musical quotes, it's all there. Not every cut is studio quality... in particular, the piano on "Easy Living," recorded in Warsaw in 1980, may last have been tuned before the War, but by and large the sound is great and the music could not be better.

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