TAS Recommended! Rated a ‘Best Audiophile Label Recording’ in the November 2009 issue of The Absolute Sound!
TAS Rated 4.5/5 Music, 4/5 Sonics in the January 2009 Issue of The Absolute Sound!
Remastered by Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman from the Original Rudy Van Gelder Blue Note Master Tapes!
The Definitive issue of this classic Blue Note title!
In jazz history, Sonny Rollins ranks among tenor-saxophone giants with Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Ben Webster and John Coltrane. In his dazzling 60-year career at the top, Rollins has balanced melodic development with unpredictable phrases, infusing his innovative ideas with his memorable wit. Who else could take the show tune “How Are Things In Glocca Morra?” and turn it into a fertile device for a heated solo? On Vol. 1, Rollins plays that song and several of his originals in a quintet with Donald Byrd and Max Roach. While Rollins has composed quite a few jazz standards, his four songs on Vol. 1 (particularly “Decision” and “Sonnysphere”) are long overdue to be revived. But who else could play those songs with the passion, intensity and humor of the immortal and always-original Sonny Rollins.
• Remastered from the Original Rudy Van Gelder Blue Note Master Tapes!
• Remastered by Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman at Acoustech
• Cut at 45rpm for Better Sound!
• Pressed on two 180 gram Virgin Vinyl LPs by RTI
• Limited Edition
• Ultra-Durable, Extra Thick Album Jackets
• Gatefold Album with Session Photos in stunning High Resolution
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook
After several incredible dates for Prestige, Rollins moved over to Blue Note to cut a series of studio and live recordings; while not as groundbreaking as his earlier work, the albums still stand out among the many hard bop releases of the day. Upon listening to this, his fine debut for the label, not to mention classics like Saxophone Colossus and Sonny Rollins Plus Four, one almost takes for granted the tenor giant’s ability to reel off a nonstop flow of breathtaking solo lines while keeping an overall thematic structure intact. And even though it’s not as classic sounding as other Blue Note titles like Vol. 2 or Newk’s Time, Sonny Rollins, Vol. 1 will satisfy Rollins fans comfortable with a mostly loose and free-flowing set; the hard-swinging originals “Bluesnote” and “Sonnysphere” certainly fit the bill, while the loping blues “Decision” and easy swinger “Plain Jane” up the ante with fetching head statements. Topping things off, Rollins includes one of his singular Broadway song interpretations with the Finian’s Rainbow ballad “How Are Things in Glocca Mora.” Figuring prominently in the proceedings are veteran bassist Gene Ramey, longtime drummer Max Roach, and then up-and-coming hard bop stars trumpeter Donald Byrd and pianist Wynton Kelly. Maybe not a first-choice disc for Rollins newcomers, but certainly an essential title down the line.
4. Plain Jane