Bret’s 10 Favorite Sonny Rollins Recordings
Way Out West
A Night at the Village Vanguard
Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins
Don’t Stop the Carnival
The Sound of Sonny
Sonny Rollins Omnibook
Sonny Rolins Transcriptions
Sonny Rollins’ classic 1957 recording, Way Out West, is being reissued by http://craftrecordings.com so liner note writer Neil Tesser did a Facebook Live with Neil to discuss the recording.
Way Out West is a 1957 album by Sonny Rollins with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Shelly Manne, neither of whom had played or recorded with Rollins before. The music employs a technique called “strolling”, used here by Rollins for the first time, in which he would solo over only bass and drums with no pianist playing chords. The recent reissue of the CD has additional takes of three of the songs, including the title track. These additional takes are all about twice as long, containing much longer solos from all three of the members of the band.
In order to fit the recording session into the musicians’ busy schedules, it was scheduled “for 3 A.M.”, according to the liner notes by producer Lester Koenig: “At 7 A.M., after four hours of intense concentration, during which they recorded half the album, and should have been exhausted, Sonny said, ‘I’m hot now.’ Shelly who had been up for 24 hours, said, ‘Man, I feel like playing.’ And Ray, who was equally tired and had a studio call for the afternoon, just smiled.”
The picture for the cover, taken by celebrated jazz photographer William Claxton, with the saxophonist dressed in Stetson hat, holster, and horn in place of a pistol, was Rollins’ own idea, to celebrate his first trip out West, according to Koenig in the liner notes.