A Night At The Village Vanguard was recorded over two sessions in one day in 1957. Recorded by jazz veteran Sonny Rollins, the album features Rollins on tenor sax with Donald Bailey on bass and Pete La Roca on drums for the first session and Wilbur Ware on bass and Elvin Jones on drums for the second.
10/10 Rob J Customer review, 20th September 2016
Sonny Rollins is the remaining last giant from Jazz's Golden Years. They have all gone now, Miles, Art Pepper, Mingus, Bill Evans
Gil Evans, Max Roach, Sun Ra. How does it feel to be the Last Man Standing ? Probably very bittersweet.
Even so, Sonny has left some memorable recordings. "Saxophone Collosus", "Way Out West", "The Bridge" and of course "Alfie".
He played on The Stones' "Waiting For A Friend". This has be to a highlight of his lengthy career, although he saw it as just another date. Hard to believe this album is nearly sixty years old, but what makes it so modern is that there are only three
musicians playing. Apart from Sonny, there is Wilbar Ware on bass, Pete La Roca or Elvin Jones on drums. From the first moment
they are flying without a safety net. Whether it be " A Night In Tunsia" , "Get Happy" or "I've Got You Under My Skin", this
is fearless adventurous jazz. The roots of "The New Thing" can be seen here, not even Coltrane was playing like this.
Ornette was a few years away, so Sonny was already "out there".
By stark contrast, Britain was in the throes of the trad jazz scene. Only Tubby Hayes matched Sonny, but the climate for
his brilliance was offset by the snobbish indifference of the record industry, and the benign conservatism of the UK jazz fans who weren't looking for anything too demanding.
Beg, steal or borrow. This album will blow you away.
9/10 Jack Customer review, 17th February 2015
I am sure that this album, like Way Out West, influenced Ornette Coleman who would also use a piano-less ensemble when he recorded his seminal The Shape Of Jazz To Come. That was one of the four albums released in 1959 that changed jazz, and that particular one was notable for its lack of a chordal instrument - something that Rollins pioneered on this album and Way Out West before it. Therein lies the importance of this one on one level. This is the perfect follow-on album to Way Out West because it reinforces Rollin's innovative approach to using a piano-less trio.
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