Sonny Rollins: I've Told Ev'ry Little Star


I've Told Ev'ry Little Star


Sonny Rollins (tenor sax)


Sonny Rollins and the Contemporary Leaders (Contemporary M 3564)

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Sonny Rollins (tenor sax), Hampton Hawes (piano), Barney Kessel (guitar), Leroy Vinnegar (bass), Shelly Manne (drums).

Composed by Jerome Kern & Oscar Hammerstein II


Recorded: Los Angeles, October 20-22, 1958


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

Shortly after this West Coast session, Sonny Rollins returned to New York and withdrew from the jazz scene for close to 3 years, during which he was often found practicing on the Williamsburg Bridge. He once said of this period in his storied career, "I was getting very famous at the time and I felt I needed to brush up on various aspects of my craft. I felt I was getting too much, too soon, so I said, wait a minute, I'm going to do it my way. I wasn't going to let people push me out there so I could fall down. I wanted to get myself together on my own."

While he emerged from his self-imposed exile to produce some of his finest music (including the aptly titled The Bridge), his final pre-hiatus recording did nothing to suggest a "brush up" was in order. Hawes, Kessel, Vinnegar and Manne provided Rollins a unique backdrop for the playful execution of his deft song choices, from "The Song Is You" and "Alone Together" to the more oddball "Rock a Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody" and this Hammerstein/Kern standard. It's always fun to hear Rollins play over a "singsong-y" standard he unearths an intricate web of melodic ideas that validates the inclusion of nearly any tune he chooses, as is the case here. His superior solo is coupled by the rather amazing interplay of Hawes and Kessel. These two are both comping, sometimes heavily, throughout much of this tune. Miraculously, they never get in each other's (or Rollins's) way.

Reviewer: Eric Novod

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