Search - Sonny Rollins :: Way Out West

Way Out West
Sonny Rollins
Way Out West
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1

2008 reissue of the Jazz great's 1957 album featuring bonus alternate takes. This album offers an unequalled opportunity on record to hear Rollins' tenor almost isolated from any other instrument. It is exceptionally well ...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Sonny Rollins
Title: Way Out West
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Jvc Japan
Release Date: 9/22/2005
Album Type: Import
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Style: Bebop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1


Album Description
2008 reissue of the Jazz great's 1957 album featuring bonus alternate takes. This album offers an unequalled opportunity on record to hear Rollins' tenor almost isolated from any other instrument. It is exceptionally well recorded, there is no piano, Manne's drums never intrude, and Brown in many places plays an obbligato accompaniment. Essential Jazz.

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CD Reviews

Perfect production.
Slaninka Frantisek | Bratislava Slovakia | 08/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's Sonny Rollins trio. Can somebody play better in late 50's ? And perfect production too. Like band's playing in my living room. I love similar productions, it's the best in jazz. Only two songs are composed by Rollins, but no problem in his music is essantial his solo playing. No highlights, whole album is perfect with beautiful resourceful playing. Must for any true jazz fan."
Saxophone, Bass and Drums make a great Trio.
Frizzante | 10/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Sonny Rollins, Ray Brown and Shelly Mann are all superb on this 71 minute album. It comprises 6 tunes; three of which have alternate takes added as bonus tracks. The originals and alternates are similarly compelling. Although my personnal favourite is Wagon Wheels, all 9 tracks are excellent.

The uncanny sense of space and the Western mood created by the trio make the cd great listening.

I am a big fan of Sonny Rollins and his happy, muscular, witty, rich and edgy sound. This album sees all three musicians in marvellous form, with the rhythm section brilliantly creating the illusion of movement.

I would recommend this as THE album to buy to begin a Sonny Rollins collection.

No words can adequately describe the treat that awaits you; however some may point in the right direction. They are; lyrical, witty, warm and imaginative. Way Out West is most original and is one of my favourite cds."
Classic cover art, but the music is even better
G B | Connecticut | 05/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This album is routinely mentioned as a classic and one of Sonny Rollins's best. For whatever reason, that acclaim doesn't translate into the same popularity attained by Saxophone Colossus. Nevertheless, if you like Sonny Rollins's playing or jazz from the mid-to-late 50s then you should definitely put this one in your shopping cart.

Sonny was one of the big innovators of the saxophone trio format -- saxophone, bass, drums -- and this was his first recording with such a lineup. Getting rid of the piano has several implications. The first is that the harmonies become a lot less obvious to the listener without the piano banging out the chords every few seconds. The second is that there's a lot more pressure on the musicians --- particularly the saxophonist, but also the bassist -- to generate interest without using piano solos as a crutch. There's a lot more space to be filled in, and in the hands of lesser musicians this space would turn into gaping holes.

Fortunately, Sonny Rollins is one of jazz's greatest improvisers. The fact that he doesn't have to share solo space with a pianist on this recordings means he can let loose some brilliant, unfettered and uninterrupted improvisations. There's a LOT of Sonny's playing on this album. Sonny's notorious for the humor/wit in his playing and there's a ton of that here.

Sonny's companions on this date for Contemporary Records were bassist Ray Brown and drummer Shelly Manne. Manne was one of the premier drummers on the west coast and appeared on a lot of Contemporary sessions. Manne wasn't a "power drummer" like most of the drummers that appeared on Sonny's east coast recordings (Philly Joe Jones, Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, and Max Roach). That means that he's content to be an accompanist rather than an almost equal partner a la Max Roach.

The compositions offer a nice amount of variety. "I'm an Old Cowhand" is the kind of semi-cheesy tune that Sonny specializes at transforming and gives the album a great start. "Come, Gone" is just straight-up fast bebop. "Solitude" and "There Is No Greater Love" are intense ballad performances. "Wagon Wheels" is a medium-tempo jam, and "Way Out West" closes the album on a jaunty note. The overall mood is more mellow and introverted than Saxophone Colossus; the album was recorded in the middle of the night, so this is not surprising.

One annoying thing about some versions of this album is that the alternate takes are placed in the middle of the album (immediately following the masters), destroying the album's original sequence. I recommend looking for the now-out-of-print 20 bit remaster or any other version that places the alternates at the end of the album, where they belong. The alternate takes are actually fascinating to explore once you get to know the original album, as two of the tunes are given much longer explorations.

This album is highly recommended and an essential part of any collection. If you like Sonny in a trio format, other albums to check out are A Night at the Village Vanguard (Blue Note), The Freedom Suite (Riverside/OJC), and East Broadway Rundown (Impulse!). I'm probably forgetting some others. And of course, if you haven't heard Saxophone Colossus, be sure to pick that one up."