Sonny Rollins Dips Into Archive for New Road Shows Album


Sonny Rollins will release Holding The Stage: Road Shows, Vol. 4 (Doxy/OKeh) digitally on April 8 and on CD April 15.

(Photo: Courtesy of the Artist)

Fans of Sonny Rollins, make room on your shelves. The prodigious saxophonist and living jazz legend is adding another album to his immense discography. Holding The Stage: Road Shows, Vol. 4 will be released by Doxy Records digitally April 8 and on CD April 15.

For his new album, the DownBeat Hall of Famer once again taps into his vast archives of concert recordings that span more than 33 years (1979–2012). The second album in a distribution agreement with Sony Music Masterworks and its jazz imprint OKeh, Holding The Stage includes 10 tracks, some previously unreleased, that Rollins said truly embody his artistic range.

“This album consists of various periods of my career, with something for everybody,” said Rollins. “It’s who I am, and the music represents just about every aspect of what I do.”

The personalness of the album is inherent in three Rollins originals that pay tribute to the saxophonist’s departed friends and colleagues. The composition “H.S.,” for Horace Silver, has been a concert staple since its appearance on Rollins’ 1995 Milestone album Sonny Rollins +3. The version heard on Holding The Stage is taken from a 2006 concert with guitarist Bobby Broom, bassist Bob Cranshaw drummer Victor Lewis and percussionist Kimati Dinizulu.

Saxophonist/arranger Paul Jeffrey, who died last year at age 81, is remembered in the funky “Professor Paul,” a new composition featuring Peter Bernstein on guitar, Cranshaw on bass, Kobie Watkins on drums and Sammy Figueroa on percussion. The song makes its recorded debut on the new release.

“Disco Monk,” from 1979’s Don’t Ask (Milestone), is a rarely performed composition that fuses the disco music of its day with Thelonious Monk’s inimitable jazz style. It appears on Holding The Stage courtesy of a live 1979 performance at the Pori Jazz Festival in Finland.

Another highlight is a previously unreleased 23-minute medley (and concert closer) from a Sept. 15, 2001, Boston performance that had been immortalized in Rollins’ final Milestone album, the Grammy Award-winning Without A Song: The 9/11 Concert.

Since launching his Doxy Records imprint in 2006, Rollins has been mining his concert recording archive (which dates back some 40 years) for a series of album releases on the label.

The selections on Volume 1 (2008) spanned nearly three decades and included a trio track from the saxophonist’s 50th-anniversary concert at Carnegie Hall. Volume 2 (2011) focused primarily on his historic 80th-birthday concert at New York’s Beacon Theatre, and Volume 3 (2014) featured a sprawling 23-minute excavation of Jerome Kern’s “Why Was I Born?”

The latest addition to the series, Volume 4 was produced by Rollins and his longtime engineer, Richard Corsello. In addition to the aforementioned performers, personnel includes trombonist Clifton Anderson; pianists Stephen Scott and Mark Soskin; guitarist Saul Rubin; bassist Jerome Harris; drummers Perry Wilson, Victor Lewis, Jerome Jennings, Al Foster and Harold Summey Jr.; and percussionist Victor See Yuen.

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