Road Shows, Vol. 4 (Doxy / OKEH)

Sonny Rollins

Releasde April 8, 2016

DownBeat Four-and-a-Half-Star Review




Sonny Rollins’ latest foray into his vast archive Holding the Stage: Road Shows, vol 4, will be released on Doxy Records digitally on April 8 and on CD on April 15.

The album succeeds 2008’s Volume 1, which had a selection that spanned nearly three decades and included a trio track from the saxophonist’s 50th anniversary Carnegie Hall concert. Volume 2 was released in 2011, and focused primarily on his historic 80th-birthday concert at New York’s Beacon Theatre. Volume 3 from 2014 marked the first recording of “Patanjali” and hinged on a stunning 23-minute excavation of Jerome Kern’s “Why Was I Born?”

Volume 4 is composed of tracks from a 33-year period of time from 1979 to 2012, and includes tunes Rollins never before recorded along with tunes from music relationships previously undocumented. “This album consists of various periods of my career, with something for everybody,” says Rollins. “It’s who I am, and the music represents just about every aspect of what I do.” The track-list will feature three Rollins originals that pay tribute to departed friends and colleagues. One of them is the soulful blues “H.S.,” for pianist Horace Silver, which has been a concert staple since its appearance on Rollins’ 1995 album Sonny Rollins +3. Another highlight is a previously unreleased 23-minute medley and concert closer from his September 15, 2001 Boston performance, most of which had been immortalized in his final Milestone album Without a Song: The 9/11 Concert.”

Track Listing:

1. In a Sentimental Mood (Duke Ellington / Manny Kurtz / Irving Mills) 04:58

2. Professor Paul (Sonny Rollins) 09:02

3. Mixed Emotions (Stuart F. Louchheim) 01:49

4. Keep Hold of Yourself (Sonny Rollins) 09:30

5. Disco Monk (Sonny Rollins) 09:46

6. You’re Mine You (Johnny Green / Edward Heyman) 06:01

7. H.S. (Sonny Rollins) 08:08

8. Sweet Leilani (Harry Owens) 07:17

9. Solo (Sonny Rollins) 05:38

10. Don’t Stop the Carnival (Sonny Rollins) 10:56


Sonny Rollins, tenor saxophone


Clifton Anderson: trombone (4, 6, 8, 10)

Bobby Broom: guitar (1, 7)

Peter Bernstein: guitar (2)

Saul Rubin: guitar (3)

Stephen Scott: piano (4, 6, 8, 10)

Mark Soskin: piano (5)

Bob Cranshaw: bass (1, 2, 4, 6–8, 10)

Jerome Harris: bass (5)

Jerome Jennings: drums (1)

Kobie Watkins: drums (2)

Harold Summey Jr.: drums (4)

Al Foster: drums (5)

Perry Wilson: drums (6, 8, 10)

Victor Lewis: drums (7)

Kimati Dinizulu: percussion (4, 6, 8, 10)

Sammy Figueroa: percussion (2)

Victor See Yuen: percussion (4)

Recorded in 1979 in Pori, Finland (5), 1996 in Paris, France (4), 2001 in Boston, MA (6, 8), 2006 in Toulouse, France (7), 2007 in London, U.K. (1), 2012 in Marseille, France (2) and Prague, Czech Republic (3)
Produced by Sonny Rollins and Richard Corsello

Engineer: Richard Corsello

Mixed, Assembled/Edited and Sound Designer by Richard Corsello

Mastered by Rob Fraboni

Design: Jamie Putnam


When I interviewed Sonny Rollins some years ago, he was in a grouchy mood, impatient and fed up with a press eager only to pick nits. “Another chance to cut up Sonny,” he grumbled. Well, not now. Sixty-five years after his first Prestige session, he’s outlived all the complaints. The press is at his feet, and he is enthroned as jazz’s greatest living master emeritus, beyond the reach of any appeal. That makes the fourth of Sonny Rollins’ Road Shows quite a show—surely one of the most essential CDs of the year so far. The later live concert performances that have made up this series have not only shed new light on Rollins’ ability to ride the public moment. They’ve also kept him a force in music, years after retiring from the concert stage. Although the music covers a period of 33 years, it tracks pretty seamlessly, notwithstanding the 20-year gap between 1979 (“Disco Monk”) and the post-2000 years that occupy most of the CD. Four of the tunes are new to the repertoire, including a buoyant “Professor Paul” and “You’re Mine You.” Four others have only a single previous performance on disc. “In A Sentimental Mood” and “Don’t Stop The Carnival” are the familiar warhorses. Road Shows, Vol. 4 also completes Rollins’ famous Without A Song: The 9/11 Concerts, his last CD for Milestone Records in 2005, with four unissued pieces. His powerful unaccompanied “Solo” shows that even when set loose on an open range, Rollins still thinks like a songwriter.

John McDonough (DownBeat)