Personnel: Sonny Rollins (tenor saxophone); Yoshiaki Masuo (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Bobby Broom (electric guitar); Bob Crenshaw (electric bass); Jack DeJohnette (drums).
Available for the first time on CD in 2009, 1982's REEL LIFE finds Sonny Rollins trying on a fusion band for size, complete with two guitarists, Yoshiaki Masuo and Bobby Broom, as well as Bob Cranshaw on electric bass and drummer Jack DeJohnette, who had plenty of fusion-rock experience of his own. The two-guitar format gives the record a slight resemblance to Ornette Coleman's Prime Time excursions though there is nothing particularly experimental-sounding here. Indeed "Rosita's Best Friend" finds the saxophonist indulging his penchant for Caribbean melodies and rhythms, only in a somewhat louder, more metallic-sounding fashion. There's also an interesting choise of Billy Strayhorn's "Little Brown Book" for the slow jam.