on 29 April 2001
Apparently, yes. This album was created at the time of day when most people are away with the fairies. The first thing I have to say is that the three musicians on this album must be descended from owls or bats or something. To be this awake and create what many of us Jazzers regard as one of the finest records of all time.
For a start the band's got such a full sound. I'm a piano player and I don't miss my instrument in the slightest. What about the tunes as well? "I'm an Old Cowhand", for instance. There's a bona fide standard (I don't think). Basically these guys could play anything and make it sound world-class. I saw Rollins last night at the Barbican and I have to say that I feel sorry for those people who missed the show. All I can say is buy this album. If you're feeling down about missing the man in person, then this warm and joyous little CD will cheer you up no end. Enjoy!!
on 9 July 2012
Remarkable and enjoyable on any number of levels, this is mainly recommended because it is just such a joy to listen to.
Despite being in the theoretically sparse tenor trio format (with the great Ray Brown on bass and the great Shelly Manne on drums), it is actually highly accessible - possibly the ultimate example of Rollins' ability to create great jazz music from even the most quirky source material.
Everyone is in absolute top form, and they all play with a light but masterful touch, great humour, intelligence, endless invention and wonderfully creative interplay.
It is also wonderfully recorded / produced even by the super-high standards of Lester Koenig's Contemporary label - a benchmark for any acoustic jazz recording.
Rollins is in the middle of one of the greatest purple patches that any musician has ever had, which, following the release of Saxophone Colossus the previous year, saw, within the space of a year, the recording of this, The Sound of Sonny, A Night at the Village Vanguard and Freedom Suite, all of which are 100% essential albums in any jazz collection.
Good also to see all the available alternative takes included (all of which are interesting), but at the end, so as not to interfere with the enjoyment of the original album.
The great tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins(b.1930?) is in superb form on this trio album recorded for Lester Koenig's CONTEMPORARY label in Los Angeles on March 7, 1957 with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Shelly Manne.
The nine memorable tracks(including three alternative takes) feature two rollins originals, the Isham Jones standard 'There Is No Greater Love', Duke Ellington's 'Solitude' and the unlikely material of 'I'm An Old Cowhand' & 'Wagon Wheels'.
With William Claxton's iconic cover photograph, 'Way Out West' is a fascinating Rollins album, full of wit and inventive playing, which deserves a place in any modern jazz collection.
on 20 February 2013
This remaster (2010) is appalling. It completely ruins the music by boosting the bass to the point that it overpowers everything else. The drums are often inaudible and Rollins is often obscured behind the relentless thud of the bass.
Why do modern engineers assume everyone wants to listen exclusively to the bass? The bass is not what someone buys a Sonny Rollins CD for!
I strongly suggest you seek out older versions. Though there's no guarantee they will be better, they certainly can't be worse.
on 16 January 2006
This isn't one of Sonny's best or his most melodic - some of the tracks drag a bit, particularly Come, Gone.
However, it is supposed to be a more experimental album (only sax, drums and bass) and there are some very good tracks, particularly Solitude, which is played with a lot of feeling.
There is also a fair bit of wry humour here - check the cover!!, and some of the drumming is nice (Shelley Manne somehow manages to make his drum kit sound like wagon wheels, on the track, Wagon Wheels!)
If you've bought the obvious Sonny Rollins classics (Saxophone Collosus, The Bridge, Sonny Rollins vol 1 & 2) and are looking for something a bit more unusual, this is a good buy.
If you're new to jazz or to Sonny, buy some of his other stuff first.