Sunday, September 18, 2011

SONNY ROLLINS' TRAVELING SHOW

In 2008, Sonny Rollins put out the Road Show Vol. 1.  The album was bits of his never before released live concerts, and some of his unreleased studio recordings cut and pasted together. As a lifelong Sonny Rollins follower, I hated the first Road Show album. It didn’t suck me in like some of Rollins’ other albums Way Out West, Saxophone Colossus, Night at the Village Vanguard, and Without a Song the 9/11 Concert. Besides, the production quality sunk. 

Tuesday, Road Show Vol. 2 went on sale nationwide. It’s better than the first volumeRoad Show Vol. 2 is filled with guest spots. Trumpet player Roy Hargrove, bass player Christian McBride, and guitar player Jim Hall participate. With that level of star power, it would be tough to make a dud. What pushes Road Show Vol. 2 over the top is the surprise appearance from Ornette Coleman.

Rollins threw a concert to celebrate his 80th birthday, and he invited Coleman. Rollins didn’t know if Coleman was going to show.Well Coleman did show, and he killed on Sonny Mood for Two. Rollins chose that number for Coleman. It has room for Coleman to rove.

Rollins and Coleman are old-timers. They have been pals forever. The birthday bash was the first time they played side by side. The other guest spots on Road Show Vol. 2 are good, especially Hargrove’s playing on I Can’t Get Started and Rain Check and Jim Hall's strumming on In a Sentimental Mood.

But neither guest spot compare to the magic Rollins and Coleman generate.They didn’t horse around. They’re too up there in age for that. They sound like to friends shooting the breeze, catching up on old times. Coleman taking part in the Road Show Vol. 2 is the biggest reason the album is worth having.

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