Sonny Rollins – Newk’s Time

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The mid-’50s Blue Note date Newk’s Time is a shining star in the Sonny Rollins catalog. The title is derived from Rollins’ nickname “Newk,” so-called because of his resemblance to baseball player Don Newcomb. It is Rollins’ fierce strength as an improviser, along with his assembled quartet of stellar guests, which makes this session so special. Still in his 20s, the saxophonist displays relentless imagination and fire in lengthy solos on standards like Miles Davis’ “Tune Up” and Kenny Dorham’s rhythmically challenging “Asiatic Raes.”

Rollins also continues his penchant for reinterpreting popular tunes, with a delightful reading of “Wonderful, Wonderful!” and “The Surrey With The Fringe On Top” on which he and Philly Joe Jones play a masterful sax/drums duet. Rollins’ only composition on the disc is his swinging “Blues For Philly Joe” in honor of the legendary drummer who displays his signature style here. Finally, a lightly swinging stroll through Johnny Mercer’s “Namely You” puts the finishing touch on a hard-bop classic.

Personnel: Sonny Rollins (tenor saxophone); Sonny Rollins; Doug Watkins (bass instrument); Wynton Kelly (piano); Philly Joe Jones (drums).

Tracklist

01. Tune Up
02. Asiatic Raes
03. Wonderful! Wonderful!
04. The Surrey With The Fringe On Top
05. Blues For Philly Joe
06. Namely You

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