SONNY ROLLINS — Way Out West

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SONNY ROLLINS - Way Out West cover
4.42 | 10 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 1957

Filed under Hard Bop
By SONNY ROLLINS

Tracklist

A1 I'm an Old Cowhand 5:35
A2 Solitude 7:47
A3 Come, Gone 7:47
B1 Wagon Wheels 10:08
B2 There Is No Greater Love 5:13
B3 Way out West 6:28

Line-up/Musicians

Bass – Ray Brown
Drums – Shelly Manne
Tenor Saxophone – Sonny Rollins

About this release

Contemporary Records – C3530

Recorded at Contemporary's studio in Los Angeles March 7, 1957

Thanks to Matt, snobb for the updates

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SONNY ROLLINS WAY OUT WEST reviews

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Matt
This really is Jazz without a net as the album "Way Out West" comprises a trio but one that ia a little different with Sonny Rollins on tenor saxophone, Ray Brown strumming bass and Shelley Manne playing drums with not a piano in sight and you would think things might get a little repititous with such a small band and what about that fill a piano provides within a composition's structure not to mention solos as well but that perception is swept away when one pops this album in the player and like myself you may actually really appreciate these sax,bass,drum trios for the reason that the musicians have to be right on the money so to speak as there is no hiding and if you don't get there it will be noticed. Sonny Rollins and the band had no trouble getting there with this production. Recorded in March 1957 over in Los Angeles giving the album its reason for the title but since Sonny was over on the West Coast why not go the whole way and throw in two Cowboy tunes, "I'm An Old Cowhand", "Wagon Wheels" as well as write one yourself, "Way Out West" with the addition of two ballads and another composition by Sonny "Come Gone" we have the albums ingredients with every tune played superbly, not just by Sonny but the band as well with Ray Brown on bass who usually works with Oscar Peterson and happened to be in town at the same time and what about Shelley Manne for my money one of the greatest jazz drummers from the West Coast ever and neither really need an introduction. The session commenced at 3.00 am in the morning as everybody had previous engagemants to play in the evening and this was the only real available time and by 7.00 am had cut half the album but Sonny said he was "hot now" and they kept going and recorded "Wagon and Wheels" and "Way Out West" in thirty minutes to create this absolute jazz masterpiece.

Shelley Manne shows his West Coast stamp straight from the start playing a horse-trot time on drums in this delightful rendition of the Johnny Mercer tune "I'm An Old Cowhand" with Sonny stating the theme over Shelley. Then Ray comes in on bass providing time and straight up Bop is the flow with Sonny stretching out but always just hanging on to the tune with the addition of a quick solo from Ray and Shelley in the composition but although this is the original version there is an alternate take and not often one can say the alternate is better but in this case that is so due to the tracks length with the original only running under 6 minutes and the alternate for just over 10 minutes giving the three musicians plenty of stretch and Sonny is brilliant but the other sweetner is Ray's solo on bass which is much better at length with the same applying for Shelley Manne on drums although he is not much longer than his shot in the original. Album length and time were most likely the reason the alternate was not used and the 3rd track on the original album issue, "Come Gone" is also presented with the shorter album original but again I do prefer the alternate due to the longer time span allowed for the musicians in the composition. The originals although shortened are still brilliant which is one of the reasons for the albums success and popularity but lucky for us when the album was released in cd format we have the added three alternate versions with the other 3rd being Sonny's cowboy composition and the album title "Way Out West" but here it is the same time span with the original being slightly better. "Solitude" is given the Sonny stamp on this beautiful Ellington ballad as with the other ballad within the album, "There is No Greater Love". I could describe the compositions solos and what order but with just the three playing things would quickly become repititous and the whole band does contribute with solos in the majority especially with the extended alternate takes and Sonny plays beautifully for the entire session with his grasp on every number and all those quick changes with his highs and lows as well that lengthy hold he hangs on to certain notes with. There is that Cowboy flavour but this is 100% Jazz that is played superbly for such a small group and your interest is maintained right throughout the albums duration, alternates and all.

You have to own this one from Sonny with "Saxophone Colossus" and "Worktime" from his early pre "Bridge" days as all are superb Jazz albums with that Hard Bop ingredient and in all you get to hear Sonny in top form but this one does have that special place for me due to the fact that you even hear Sonny a little more and there was no where to hide in such a small line up which maybe the reason why it is a masterpiece in Jazz.

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