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Sonny Rollins, Ray Brown, Shelly Manne

Way Out West

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Sonny Rollins - Way Out West 01. I'm An Old Cowhand (5:43) 02. Solitude (7:54) 03. Come, Gone (7:54) 04. Wagon Wheels (10:14) 05. There Is No Greater Love (5:18) 06. Way Out West (6:33) 07. I'm An Old Cowhand (Alternate Take) (10:12) 08. Come, Gone (Alternate Take) (10:32) 09. Way Out West (Alternate Take) (6:39)
  • Sonny Rollins - saxophone
  • Ray Brown - double bass
  • Shelly Manne - drums

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Sonny Rollins was always gifted with a brawny, expressive tone and a formidable sense of swing. But on SAXOPHONE COLOSSUS he conveyed a new-found harmonic confidence and a singular sense of thematic continuity that gave each improvisation a transcendent quality. And his attack, always cutting and direct, took on immense weight and warmth. For his first trip out to California in March of 1957, Rollins celebrated his boyhood fascination with western imagery by interpreting classic cowpoke tunes. With WAY OUT WEST, Sonny was no longer simply a gifted sideman, but a consummate tenor saxophonist--ready to stretch out as a leader--and he made the bold decision to dispense entirely with the piano and carry the full harmonic/melodic load in a trio format. This unlikely combination of elements gives WAY OUT WEST a special place in jazz history. The veteran rhythm combo of drummer Shelly Manne and bassist Ray Brown are so clearly inspired by Rollins' youthful exuberance, that they transform the unlikeliest of themes--"I'm An Old Cowhand" and "Wagon Wheels"--into jazz anthems. On two takes of the former, Manne and Brown put you right in the saddle with clanking hooves and campfire counterpoint, and when Sonny yodels his final yippi-yi-yo-ki-yea, they settle into a ravishing medium groove that could swing you...well, until the cows come home. Sonny's ballad mastery is no less compelling, with hypnotic readings of "Solitude" and "There Is No Greater Love." Elsewhere, his jagged line "Come, Gone" launches him and his cohorts into full flight, while the bluesy inverted theme and cunning rhythmic stop-time of the title tune inspires collective interplay and soulful solos from each of these innovators.


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