In the mid to late 50’s (post Bird era) several great saxophone players emerged from the shadows stepping up to adapt the then popularized style of Bebop into what is now referred to as Hardbop. None has had as much influence or longevity as Tenor Colossus Sonny Rollings. He put out many albums in this period for labels like Prestige, Blue Note and Verve. This un-attachment to any one company, unheard of at that time as most artists were looking for an exclusive contract and the consistent income, allowed Rollings to explore several different genre including the one he pioneered and is best known for the “Smooth Bop” style.
On The Sound of Sonny, released in 1957, the Down Beat “New Star” of the tenor saxophone experiments with alternating personnel, delivering a platter of wonderful, popular tunes including The Last Time I Saw Paris, a beautiful solo version of It Could Happen To You, and the Cole Porter standard Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye. Rollins is supported this time around by Sonny Clark on piano, Roy Haynes on drums and bassists Percy Heath and Paul Chambers.
I’d say grab as many Sonny Rollins albums you can find from this time period. He is at the top of his game producing great session after session. The Sound of Sonny is proof of that. Enjoy!