Monday, June 08, 2009

Sonny Rollins, Reel Life, Concord/OJC

One of the few Sonny sessions I didn't own, it may not even have been on CD until this reissue. Call it Sonny and guitars, three of them, including a young Bobby Broom, back with him in the '00s. Reel Time is from 1982, however, and all the guitar players, plus Jack DeJohnette on drums and percussion, make it one of Mr. Rollins' early '80s things where he dips a toe in Weather Report-style fusion without diving in all the way.

I like them. I treasure his sound the last decade or so, but I enjoy it in this period as well, when he had a little bit of an Eddie Harris kind of airiness going. The tunes are generally upbeat and rockish or calypso leaning with but one ballady trad number, Billy Strayhorn's My Little Brown Book, and an interesting update of Howard McGhee's McGhee, which certainly doesn't make one think "bebop." I could see myself driving all day listening to the title track. The final cut, Solo Reprise, indicates that Sonny can say more in 2:11 than most saxophonists do in three or four times that.

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