Sonny Rollins – Vol. 2 – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  • Side two of this stereo pressing is at least Super Hot – it’s huge, rich and tubey
  • Side one is Super Hot, musical, lively, clear and real sounding
  • Another classic late ’50s RVG recording of some of the greatest Jazz Giants who ever lived
  • “…a timeless session and a milestone in jazz history that gathered together some of the founding fathers of the post-bop era.”

Even though this session was supposedly recorded in one day on April 14, 1957 we heard an anomaly that took us somewhat by surprise. The first and third track on side two sound amazing, better than anything on side one. However, the second track, You Stepped Out Of A Dream, has sound that is clearly a step down from anything else on the album. It’s smaller and more congested. Why that is we have no idea, but we felt it was worth pointing out.

Sonny’s horn on side two is especially big and rich, with huge amounts of Tubey Magic as befits an all-tube 1957 Blue Note recording. This is clearly the right sound for this music.

Note that side one is not quite as tubey but makes up for it with energy and clarity that we found conveys the music beautifully.


Sonny Rollins – tenor saxophone
Jay Jay Johnson – trombone
Horace Silver – piano
Thelonious Monk – piano
Paul Chambers – bass
Art Blakey – drums


Side One

Why Don’t I
Wail March

Side Two

You Stepped Out Of A Dream
Poor Butterfly

AMG  Review

Sonny Rollins, Vol. 2, recorded for Blue Note, is a timeless session and a milestone in jazz history that gathered together some of the founding fathers of the post-bop era. Joining Rollins are Jazz Messengers Art Blakey on drums and Horace Silver on piano, Miles Davis’ favorite bassist Paul Chambers, the quintessential trombonist J.J. Johnson, and even Thelonious Monk himself.

The tour de force in swing begins with a bang and doesn’t let up until the last note has faded away. Rollins’ own uptempo “Why Don’t I” kicks off the session with a rhythmic jolt before his big tenor launches into a classic swinging solo followed by turns from Johnson and Silver and some heated exchanges with Blakey.

The aptly titled “Wail March” begins deceptively with a street-beat groove before careening into several blistering solo choruses. Monk sits in for his own “Misterioso” and “Reflections,” two quintessential works from this eccentric master that are given excellent readings here. The bouncing “You Stepped Out of a Dream” provides some tasty interaction between Rollins and Johnson.

Finally, the lilting “Poor Butterfly” is a nice bluesy ending to this all-star session.

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