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Jose Reyes

“Sonny Rollins with the Modern Jazz Quartet” album indicates greatness

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This album was released in 1956 but amazingly contains recordings from 1951 and 1953. It is considered to be Sonny Rollins debut album as a leader. As you will read below in the description, he was only 21 years old (Recordings with the Modern Jazz Quartet Tracks 1-4) but with plenty of experience. This album would not really be possible without the sturdy support of the Modern Jazz Quartet, a group which flourished together for countless years afterwards. There were others who made this album possible also and they were Miles Davis, Art Blakey, just to name a few. This explains the other 9 tracks, since 1 through 4 were with MJQ (Recorded with the complete band). “Sonny Rollins with the Modern Jazz Quartet” was also released as Sonny & the Stars.” Overall, it’s a straight forward Bebop/Hard Bop album with very short songs. Interesting enough, 1951 was when Bebop was converting into Hard Bop and this album helps the listeners distinguish the difference between both. Sonny Rollins makes the difference!

Track Info: Recorded January 17, 1951 (#13), Recorded December 17, 1951 (#5-12), Recorded October 7, 1953 (#1-4)

About the album:

Always gifted with a big band sound and a pure sense of swing, Sonny Rollins did not emerge full-blown from the foam like Venus. He gained polish and experience with Bud Powell, J.J. Johnson, Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, before making his Prestige debut as a leader at the tender age of 21. WITH THE MODERN JAZZ QUARTET celebrates the tenor saxophonist’s first three 10-inch LPs–MAMBO JAZZ, SONNY ROLLINS QUARTET, and SONNY ROLLINS WITH MILT JACKSON–and is culled from sessions in December of 1951 and October of 1953. There is much joy and rhythmic elation in Rollins’ early vamp figures such as “Shadrack” and “Scoops,” where he preaches with a stomping fervor that anticipates the hard bop movement. On “Newk’s Fadeaway,” he hints at the harmonic freedom and plasticity of line that would distinguish his early triumphs, while….Read More

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