Personnel: Sonny Rollins (tenor saxophone); Rufus Harley (bagpipes); Stanley Cowell (piano); Masuo (guitar); Bob Cranshaw (bass); David Lee (drums); Mtume (congas, percussion).
Recorded live at the Montreaux Jazz Festival, Montraux, Switzerland on July 6, 1974. Originally released on Milestone (9059). Includes liner notes by Orrin Keepnews.
Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1990, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
Recorded at the 1974 Montreaux Jazz Festival, this live set features the astonishing "To A Wild Rose," one of the tenor saxophonist's best performances. Rollins glides gently over Mtume's subtle percussion and Bob Cranshaw's lyrical electric bass before breaking loose into a stunning unaccompanied solo which fragments the melody and then gracefully weaves it back together.
The title track and "First Moves" are rhythmic exercises thankfully lacking the empty technique of much '70s jazz. Similarly, Rollins' melodic improvs on Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "A House Is Not A Home" sidestep the mundanity of many jazz-pop crossovers. The set ends with a joyous "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" featuring a beautiful, hypnotic duet between Rollins and jazz bagpiper (and future Laurie Anderson sideman) Rufus Harley. At a time when many jazz players were sliding into cliche, Sonny Rollins kept moving forward.