Personnel: Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane (tenor saxophone); Kenny Dorham, Clifford Brown (trumpet); Milt Jackson (vibraphone); Elmo Hope, Thelonious Monk, Richie Powell, Hampton Hawes, Tommy Flanagan, Sonny Clark, John Lewis, Red Garland (piano); Barney Kessel (guitar); Percy Heath, Tommy Potter, Ray Brown, George Morrow, Leroy Vinnegar, Doug Watkins, Paul Chambers (bass); Art Blakey, Art Taylor, Shelly Manne, Max Roach, Roy Haynes, Kenny Clarke, Philly Joe Jones (drums).
Producers: Bob Weinstock, Lester Koenig, Orrin Keepnews, Ira Gitler.
Recorded between October 7, 1953 and October 22, 1958. Includes liner notes by Larry Hollis.
Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1998, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
Personnel: Sonny Rollins (tenor saxophone); Barney Kessel (guitar); John Coltrane (tenor saxophone); Clifford Brown , Kenny Dorham (trumpet); John Lewis, Elmo Hope, Hampton Hawes, Red Garland, Richie Powell, Thelonious Monk, Tommy Flanagan (piano); Milt Jackson (vibraphone); Kenny Clarke, Max Roach, Philly Joe Jones, Art Blakey, Art Taylor, Shelly Manne (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Phil DeLancie.
Recording information: 10/07/1953-10/22/1958.
Photographer: Don Schlitten.
This is a truly outstanding compilation of material from one of Rollins' most productive and creatively fruitful periods. Focusing on recordings made between 1954 and 1958, this disc represents Rollins at his varied, mind-bendingly masterful best, from the tender ballad phrasing and soulful tone of "You Don't Know What Love Is" to the wild, syncopated lines of "Movin' Out." Rollins wears so many hats that it's sometimes hard to believe he's one man: throwing out sing-song themes like "I'm An Old Cowhand," winding through fluid choruses like "No Moe," turning harmonic and rhythmic notions upside down in his dazzling solos.
He litters his improvisations with quirkily-stressed phrases, quotes, repeated patterns, arpeggiated chords that seem to ascend and descend at once, and sheer inexplicable magic. As if "St. Thomas" alone weren't worth the price of the album, the listener also gets the final track, "Tenor Madness," in which Rollins goes head to head with John Coltrane--a historic meeting yielding earfuls of delectable playing.