Sonny Rollins: Road Shows Vol 3 review – feed your live cravings


The Road Shows series of live recordings of the famously studio-averse Sonny Rollins are all the more appealing now, since health issues are still keeping the 83-year-old sax star from playing live.

Volume 3 draws on gigs in France, Japan and the US from 2001 to 2012, and catches him in such thunderous form as to almost make up for his absence. The fast-walking Biji sparks a tenor-sax solo of vehement exclamations and ferocious low notes, and Someday I'll Find You stirs that signature mix of tenderness, long notes and wayward wriggles through harmony-busting descents. Solo Sonny jams together Miles Davis, Ellington, Glenn Miller, Tennessee Waltz, Oh Susanna and a lot more, while Rollins spends 20 minutes springing animatedly off drummer Steve Jordan's groove on Why Was I Born? and winds things up with Don't Stop the Carnival. He became so brusquely inventive after the millennium that he has sometimes sounded like a free-improviser accidentally parachuted into a straightahead jazz band, but the contrast continues to exert a fascinating charm.


John Fordham

The GuardianTramp

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