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Complete Rca Victor Recordings
Sonny Rollins
Complete Rca Victor Recordings
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #3
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #4
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #5
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #6

Sonny Rollins emerged from a three-year retirement in 1961 and soon signed with RCA Victor, remaining with the label until 1964. It was one of his most creative periods, and if the music is sometimes less focused than in t...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Sonny Rollins
Title: Complete Rca Victor Recordings
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: RCA
Original Release Date: 7/15/1997
Release Date: 7/15/1997
Album Type: Box set
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Styles: Modern Postbebop, Bebop
Number of Discs: 6
SwapaCD Credits: 6
UPCs: 090266867523, 743213327921

Sonny Rollins emerged from a three-year retirement in 1961 and soon signed with RCA Victor, remaining with the label until 1964. It was one of his most creative periods, and if the music is sometimes less focused than in the period from 1956 to 1959, these were years of musical adventure and whimsical exploration when Rollins seemed to challenge the limits of his own mastery. That sense of ferment is apparent in the sudden shifts in group architecture. The first recordings here have Rollins leading a quartet with the guitarist Jim Hall, a group of stunning empathy in which the understated Hall sounds like Rollins's perfect foil, deftly matching his lyricism and his rhythmic invention. The most startling music, though, comes from the live recordings with a quartet that included former Ornette Coleman sidemen Don Cherry and Billy Higgins. Together they shatter two of Rollins's best-known tunes, "Oleo" and "Doxy," into a thousand pieces, reassembling and reinventing them in extended group improvisations that represent a stunning rapprochement between hard-bop swing and free-jazz dialogue. It's some of the greatest music in the Rollins canon and a neglected landmark of early free jazz. His quixotic side may be most evident in a session with Coleman Hawkins joining Rollins's quartet (with pianist Paul Bley) in one of jazz history's strangest intergenerational meetings. Both camaraderie and competition seem to arise, with Rollins at times plumbing the tenor's oddest sonorities. The later sessions have Rollins returning to something like his classic mold, using relatively conventional rhythm sections, including the young Herbie Hancock, as a springboard for solos of majestic power. --Stuart Broomer

CD Reviews

Coming Into His Own
Brint Conley | Cincinnati, Ohio USA | 05/23/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Powerful. Graceful. Inspiring. Little more needs to said about this fabulous collection. While this set does not include any new or rare material that is not available in other sources, this set is a must for anyone trying to build a jazz library. The selections here are all from top notch albums ("The Bridge" being my fav.) that, while not on the level of "Tenor Madness" or "Saxophone Colossus" are still required listening. Rollins is even throughout, displaying his signature style and tone in equal part. The set is neatly packaged complete with beautiful photos and liner notes. I would strongly suggest any jazz fan who does not already own the albums contained in this set to purchase "Complete RCA.""
One Too Many?
Richard B. Luhrs | Jackson Heights, NY United States | 05/08/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Sonny Rollins' 1962-64 sessions for RCA include, in my own opinion, quite possibly the best music of his career, ranging as they do from brief, snappy covers of the most overplayed standards to the loosest and lengthiest of jams and featuring a shifting series of styles, sidemen and arrangements which makes each of the albums from this prolific portion of the famed tenor saxophonist's catalogue a little musical world unto itself. At various times on this sonically and visually beautiful boxed set, one hears the great Rollins in the company of such masters as Jim Hall, Coleman Hawkins, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Billy Higgins, Don Cherry and Paul Bley (just to name a few), alternately tackling atmospheric post-bop (THE BRIDGE), scorched-earth Latinisms (WHAT'S NEW?), postmodern onstage chaos (OUR MAN IN JAZZ), intergenerational gymnastics (SONNY MEETS HAWK) and fresh, subtle approaches to familiar repertoire (THE STANDARD SONNY ROLLINS). A cluster of outtakes and alternate versions filters in nicely; every disc here is a winner, even if everyone (myself included) will necessarily pick his or her favorites from among them.
So why the four - or rather four and a half - stars? Because of RCA's silly decision to make six discs out of what should have been five. Only one of these CDs runs (just) over an hour; and since some of the original albums are divided and several of the 1964 alternate takes are tacked onto the end of disc two (the rest of which dates from 1962), no argument about preserving the integrity of the sessions via more and shorter discs can be made. It's price-gouging, coupled perhaps with a bizarre aesthetic sensibility (which is also revealed in the mid-seventies photos of Rollins adorning several of these mid-sixties discs), plain and simple. That doesn't stop this from being one of the very finest jazz boxes I have the pleasure to own, however, and I hope it's reissued soon (on five OR six CDs) so that others will have the opportunity to add it to their collections without having to pay top dollar."
Wonderful, overlooked music
Steven C. Berry | Edmonds WA | 01/13/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"In my opinion, the best part of this collection includes the pairing of Sonny Rollins and Jim Hall. A true shame they did not work together after this. They drove each other, inspired each other, and also experimented with bossa nova when it was first becoming part of the US jazz scene. This box set includes material that, while previously released on cassette or on French discs, is nice to have all in one CD collection. Sonny and Jim have had distinguished, amazing careers, but rarely have either been more tuneful or fun than they were here."