Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
A bonafide classic.
jazzfanmn | St Cloud, MN United States | 12/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This cd is packed with timeless music. Rollins' performance on this classic from 1957 not only solidified him as one of the greatest tenors of his generation, but, along with all of the other material from his illustrious fifty plus year career, has stood the test of time to make him one of the all-time greatest musicians regardless of style. Backed by a duo of legends in bassist Ray Brown and drummer Shelly Manne, Rollins cooks from beginning to end. He is in prime form, still a relativly unknown tenor when this album came out, he plays like a man ahead of his years. Sonny's tone is hard, percussive, rasping, and even playful, a full spectrum of colors and moods. What makes this a truly great album is that every single note Rollins plays is a highlight. His soloing stands up to repeated listening and rewards the effort with something new each time through. Manne and Brown contribute fantastic performances of their own, matching Rollins by producing phenominal solos of their own. Even the usually aggravating practice of sticking alternate takes behind the originals hardly makes a difference. Rollins, Manne, and Brown are so brimming with ideas, the longer alternates offer the listener just that much more of a good thing. This is one of those albums that needs to be in every jazz collection, even the cover photo is a classic. Buy this cd if you do not already own it, you will not be dissapointed."
I Must Have Been Sleeping.
Louie Bourland | Garden Grove CA | 10/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Believe it or not, this reviewer has been a Jazz fan for years and surprisingly had never heard anything by Sonny Rollins until this week with the purchase of "Way Out West". I must say that listening to this album was like unlocking a door to a mansion (like my discovering of John Coltrane was) and there definitely will be more Sonny albums making their way to my collection soon.
With that out of the way, onto the music itself: "Way Out West" was recorded in 1957 and finds Rollins playing in a piano-less trio backed only by bassist Ray Brown and drummer Shelly Manne. The liner notes to the album state that the three musicians hadn't played together before until this recording session. You'd never know it by listening to this album though. Rollins, Brown and Manne play off each other effortlessly and are like six hands in a glove. It's as if they'd played together for years.
On the upbeat tracks, "I'm an Old Cowhand", "Come Gone" and the title track, Rollins and his trio really swing and leave plenty of space for improvisation and soloing. "Come Gone" is an especially prime example of this.
The same can be said for the slower ballad-oriented pieces. Sonny's take on Duke Ellington's "Solitude" is superb and soothing and is a real standout. "Wagon Wheels", while not neccesarily a ballad, is also a standout with its mid-tempo blues-like runs.
Besides the original tracks that made up the album, there are also three alternate takes tacked on as bonus tracks. The alternate version of "I'm An Old Cowhand" is arguably stronger than its master take and is also twice as long running at 10 minutes rather than five and a half. The alternates of "Come Gone" and the title track are performed in such a way that they almost become different pieces of music altogether. Rollins solo in the alternate "Come Gone" is more raspy and edgy which gives the impression that this take was recorded live in a club rather than a studio. It's fabulous too.
With that said, "Way Out West" is an excellent first choice for the emerging Sonny Rollins fan. The playing is excellent and the musicianship is flawless. The only minor complaint is that the bonus alternate takes are presented on the CD after their master take counterparts (example: The master take of I'm An Old Cowhand is immediately followed by its alternate take as is "Come, Gone" and "Way Out West"). They should have been sequenced at the end of the disc following the original album tracks. Apart from that, who really cares? This is a great album with great music on it.
Swingin' way out west--must have for Rollins fans.
Robert M. Emanuel | Tucson, AZ United States | 01/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Next to Saxophone Colossus, don't pass up this recording if you want excellent Rollins for your collection. Years ago, I bought this on a recommendation from a friend. Having never listened to Rollin's before, I was pretty floored! I still am every time I listen to it, which (at least to me), is a testament to the recording's magic and longevity. Rollins was absolutely incandecent on "Come, Gone" and "There is No Greater Love". He also really injects some very wry, swinging humor into his renditions of "I'm An Old Cowhand", "Wagon Wheels" and "Way Out West". The man's artistic genius and humanity really shine in this recording. Highly recommended!"
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."