Sonny Rollins: Blues for Philly Joe


Blues for Philly Joe


Sonny Rollins (tenor sax)


Newk's Time (Blue Note 4001)

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Sonny Rollins (tenor sax), Wynton Kelly (piano), Doug Watkins (bass), Philly Joe Jones (drums).

Composed by Sonny Rollins


Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, September 22, 1957


Rating: 88/100 (learn more)

"Blues for Philly Joe" is the only Rollins original on the versatile Newk's Time. By the time the album reaches this second-to-last track, the previous burning tempo of "Tune Up," polyrhythmic complexities of "Asiatic Raes" and intense Rollins/Jones duet on "Surrey with the Fringe on Top" make this relaxed, mid-tempo blues a vital addition. Rollins, Kelly and Watkins offer solid though unexceptional solos. The track's magical moment arrives when Rollins and Jones trade fours. (Rollins probably wrote the piece because he was waiting for this moment!) The saxophonist and drummer are bouncing ideas back and forth, with Rollins's rhythmic playfulness and Jones's melodicism creating a charming interactive relationship. From this track to the aforementioned extended duet on "Surrey…," this entire session presents one of the more compelling leader/drummer lockups in recorded jazz.

Reviewer: Eric Novod

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