Sonny Rollins - Freedom Suite (Keepnews Collection) (Music CD)
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In recording with bassist Oscar Pettiford and drummer Max Roach, Rollins aligned himself with the modern jazz innovators who best exemplified his righteous brand of freedom. Pettiford is particularly inspired on trio and duo versions of "Till There Was You," where he displays an uncanny knack for enunciating lyrical syncopations without losing the flow of the beat or a sense of harmonic structure. His ringing half notes on the head to "Will You Still Be Mine?" set up a vibrant series of Rollins/Roach exchanges, while his charming solo distills the melody into its most swinging components.
But it is "Freedom Suite," with its stunning stops and starts, extended variations, thematic interludes and exhilirating denouement, that invites the most superlatives. Rollins' sense of sustained melodic invention is remarkable, as is his cyclical formal structure. The opening theme, with its affectionate parody of a formal overture, sets the band in motion, as if motifs and contrasting themes criss-cross and collide in a swinging trialogue. A waltz figure and dramatic extended cadenza introduces one of Rollins' most touching ballads, richly tinted in smoky shades of blue, with some joyous buck and wing by Pettiford and Roach. Finally, a reprise of the waltz theme gives way to a climactic chase, inspiring some of Roach's most fervent, singing breaks, before a return to the opening theme ties it all up.
1. Freedom Suite
2. Someday I'll Find You
3. Will You Still Be Mine
4. Till There Was You [Take 4] (take)
5. Shadow Waltz
6. Till There Was You [Take 1] (previously unreleased, take)
7. Till There Was You [Take 3] (take)
8. There Will Never Be Another You