8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 29 December 2008
The playing of Sonny Rollins needs no introduction, so I will concentrate on what I feel this album offers compared to the work he did before his 2 year break from music.
First of all, Rollins never seems to be "out of shape" on anything I've heard, and this album contains some of his best playing. I think his playing on this album and through most of the 60's is the best I've heard from him. He is thoughtful and sensitive on ballads like "Where are you?" and "God bless the child" and he explores new ideas on songs like "John S." and the titletrack, while still maintaining his remarkable and recognizable drive, humor, imagination and playfulness.
Jim Hall is an incredible musician and he and Rollins are definitely a match made in heaven. Jim Hall's incredible sense of rhytm and harmony coupled with his imaginative and tasteful solo's is the perfect companion to Rollins' style and his comping gives the exact amount of freedom and foundation Rollins needs, in my opinion. His balance between support and being "out of the way" is unique. The sound of the band also blends perfect together.
My favorite take is "Without a Song", without a doubt. The arrangement is tasteful, it swings hard and both Sonny and Jim Hall play incredible solo's. The song is vibrant, full of life and expells joy throughout the speakers and, in my mind, that's what Sonny Rollins is about.
To me, this is his best album.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 2 June 2006
Sonny Rollins' return to recording was and is still regarded by many as having been disappointing after recordings such as Worktime and Saxophone Colossus...
Well, I can't disagree more.
The tone is better, so is the attack and, above all, the ideas are more mature. Moreover, any flirtations he had with the piano were more or less forgotten after this - he never needed one anyway.
As much as I like the aforementioned recordings, I play this more often - sometimes I think it's because I've memorised Colossus, then when I hear The Bridge again I know why.