You might be disappointed in the length of this CD, as it checks in at a mere 32 minutes. Sure, in the days of vinyl that was acceptable, but we spoiled CD buyers have come to expect 45-75 minutes per disc. Rest assured that although you'll want more music at the conclusion of "Plus 4," every minute that you spend with Sonny and company will be time well spent.
Besides, after you listen to his cover of the chestnut "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep," you might decide that length is overrated. The tune consumes a mere 2 minutes, 29 seconds. But during that brief time, Rollins not only has enough time to beautifully sketch the melody, but also to construct an airtight solo that sounds like a definitive statement on the theme. Like a great meal, it doesn't leave you wanting more; instead, you're perfectly satisfied. It also shows that Rollins, a mere 26 when "Plus 4" was recorded, was well on his way to becoming a saxophone giant.
"Plus 4" also finds Rollins in fine company. The great Clifford Brown's trumpet playing makes us regret again his all-too-early departure. He and Rollins sound like they could have made a dozen good records together had Brown lived. Max Roach delivers his usual impeccable time keeping and solo voice, and Richie Powell contributes a sprightly presence on piano, particularly on "Kiss and Run."
If you find yourself wanting a heavier Rollins meal after this one, check out his "Complete Prestige Recordings" (7 discs), which includes the tunes from "Plus 4."