Acoustic Sounds
By: Michael Fremer

April 19th, 2024


Editor's Choice

Sonny Rollins "Freedom Weaver" —A Last Minute RSD "Must Have"

late arrival among the essential RSD 2024 jazz titles

These 1959 European tour recordings have often been bootlegged with Rollins not getting royalties. This box rights that wrong and presents the piano-less trio in the best possible sound. It's not "audiophile" quality but it's decent enough mono, professionally recorded and not the result of a microphone hung from a ceiling.

There's something rock'n'roll about sax, bass and drums, especially when Rollins leads the trio and this trio is rocking out. No noodling. Just muscular playing and no shoe gazing. it's Sonny, Henry Grimes on bass, and three drummers, Pete La Roca, Joe Harris and Kenny Clarke switching off depending upon the location.

The tour took the trio on a week-long trek to Stockholm, Sweden, Zurich, Switzerland, Frankfurt, Germany and Aix-en-Provence, France. It's fun hearing Sonny slipping in quotes from all manner of familiar music and he even covers Linda Scott's 1961 classic "I've Told Every Little Star" more than once.

There are great notes in the booklet from Bob Blumenthal, Sonny himself, Branford Marsalis, Joe Lovano, James Carter and others plus photos. Whether you have no Sonny Rollins or you have Saxophone Colossus, Our Man In Jazz, The Bridge Way Out West, East Broadway Rundown and a wall more, you'll want to add this one.

Twenty Six tracks that will keep you jumping. Freedom Weaver on vinyl is an RSD title. Hope you can score one!


  • 2024-04-20 02:18:26 PM

    Fred Morris wrote:

    Thanks for the pointer Michael! Another fine and quite different Rollins album is Alfie on Impulse. Doesn’t include the Bacharach tune (composed for US release of the film) but presents Rollins’s excellent score arranged and conducted by Oliver Nelson. Good sound in both mono and stereo.

    • 2024-04-20 07:41:13 PM

      Michael Fremer wrote:

      I bought that when it was first released

  • 2024-04-20 02:58:13 PM

    Zimmer74 wrote:

    Thanks for the tip on this new RSD offering. To change the subject, I just received my Tone Poet 3-LP set of Sonny Rollins, A Night at the Village Vanguard, for the first time ever issued from the original, recently unearthed 7 1/2 ips master tapes. All I can say is, Wow! As the saying goes, my highest recommendation.

  • 2024-04-20 05:00:32 PM

    Come on wrote:

    I love the noodling vs. muscular playing part. Yes, it’s muscular, straight, in its way somehow simple, special. I always feel like I can hear him thinking about his improvisations that are happening in the moment. I love Rollins (in sensible doses). Never as deep or mesmerizing as, say. Coltrane, but indispensable in the jazz landscape. Personally, I just need the essentials.

    • 2024-04-20 09:14:20 PM

      Michael Weintraub wrote:

      From 1956-1957 alone, Rollins put out more than a dozen albums. They range from very good to absolutely indispensable: Tenor Madness, Saxophone Colossus, Tour de Force, Sonny Rollins Plus Four (with Max Roach and Clifford Brown), Way Out West, At the Village Vanguard, Newk's Time, Sonny Side Up (with Sonny Stitt and Dizzy Gillespie), and the Blue Note Vols. 1 & 2, to name only a few. It's one of the most staggering runs in the history or recorded music, yet it represents just just a tiny fraction of Rollins' output. Even sticking to just the "essentials", one could easily fill a shelf with his records, and if you like jazz, I highly recommend you do!

      • 2024-04-20 09:44:54 PM

        Michael Fremer wrote:


      • 2024-04-21 02:32:31 AM

        PeterPani wrote:

        Alone Way out West in all its different audiophile editions fills a shelf :)

      • 2024-04-21 04:35:35 AM

        Come on wrote:

        Agreed, I have most of those, (in different versions) because I like them, and have several others, even the 3LP WOW Craft box outtakes. I guess WOW alone makes it to at least 5 different audiophile reissue versions + the original.

        Probably „essentials“ was in my case ;-). What I wanted to say is, I listen to them in more sensible doses than to some others like Monk, Jamal, Miles and don‘t need every side release of him, as to me his music is not always as varied, touching and fascinating as others, especially aside of this indeed staggering period. Still enough to have dozens of recordings, he’s a giant, no question and it’s just my personal taste. Thanks for your input!

        • 2024-04-21 04:38:45 AM

          Come on wrote:

          It should read: „probably „essentials“ was misleading in my case“ ;-)

  • 2024-04-21 10:24:58 AM

    Kevin wrote:

    Also please note this is listed as a RSD FIRST release so it will be available to the masses at a later date. Usually 6 or 8 months from past experience. So keep it on your want list.