Wednesday, August 23, 2006

More Sonny in London

I'm liking the "Sonny Rollins Live in London" series from British Harkit Records and covering a month's performances in 1965 by Mr. Rollins at Ronnie Scott's muy famoso jazz club in London, where he performed with pianist Stan Tracey's trio, a pretty much legendary outfit on the island. The sound isn't fantastic (the drums are a little heavy on Volume 2 as I listen to it, for instance) but it isn't terrible and you can make out everything the saxophonist is doing, which is a lot. Nothing on the second disk clocks in under 10 minutes and he goes 20 on a calypso-tinged rendition of "Night and Day."

Mr. Rollins has clearly gotten comfortable with the Tracey unit here, and the Brits with him, more than on the first volume, where they don't seem quite as together. He's particularly inventive on nearly 18 minutes built on Gershwin's "Foggy Day," which also includes a nice run by bassist Rick Laird. Monk's "Nutty" toes closer to the line of the original, but then it was pretty inventive to start with. The version of "Autumn Nocturne" is different than any of the other versions from Sonny Rollins I've heard and a classic example of his on-the-spot creating in concert. There's a third volume "Live in London" and I think it's in my future.

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