Miles Davis on keys...
Cedric Westphal | san francisco, ca | 09/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The previous reviewer wrote that the song "I know", the last tune of the album, is "pianoless": actually, quite interestingly, the pianist is quite famous, his name is Miles Davis.
While not as accomplished a pianist as John Lewis or Kenny Drew (the other two who play along Newk here), he does quite a decent understated job. This is the only cd I know of where he's sitting at the piano. Just for this interesting reason, I give it a 5 (the other track won't let you down, even thought the 'sonny rollins with the mjq' is a bit of a misnomer: of the quartet, only percy heath is there throughout, Milt Jackson and John Lewis are only in the first 4 tracks)."
Sonny blasts out of the starting gate
Andrew Halper | London, UK | 10/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What an amazing recording. I've been listening to the CD (and its vinyl predecessor) for nearly 20 years and Sonny's playing is still as fresh, energetic and inspired as it seemed to me the first time I heard it. It's hard to imagine that this guy used to be criticised for playing standards -- what he brings to bear here is total hard-bop sensibility, but also plenty of non-cloying tenderness and innovation in tackling ballads.
The attack on the opening track (The Stopper) is like an Olympic 100m racer charging out of the starting gate. Impossible to sit still when listening to this music.
If any jazz heads have avoided buying this because of the MJQ assocation, that's a mistake. This recording is mind-blowing."
Modern Jazz Giants
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 08/25/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Sonny Rollins with the Modern Jazz Quartet" showcases songs from three different recording sessions in the early 1950s. While the album may be called "with MJQ," only four of the album's thirteen tracks feature Sonny playing with the Quartet (Milt Jackson, John Lewis, Percy Heath and Connie Kay for those of you not in the know). Of these tracks, the standout is Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood," where Jackson's vibe play is the perfect compliment to Sonny's breathy tenor. Tracks 5-12 find Kenny Drew, Heath (again) and Art Blakey joining Sonny, and again a ballad, "Time on My Hands," is the gem of the session. Finally, Heath (once more) and Roy Haynes join Sonny on an early pianoless trio for the disc's final track, "I Know." "With the Modern Jazz Quartet" is a great look at a young Sonny Rollins."