All the Things You Are

A new book and five-disc reissue offer incomplete portraits of sax great Sonny Rollins

Unchained melody: A young Sonny Rollins
Unchained melody: A young Sonny Rollins

Another five-disc box of Rollins from almost exactly the same period, The Complete Blue Note Recordings, is on balance a better purchase. But the shrewdest strategy for noncompletists would be to cherry-pick the best records from both: Way Out West, Freedom Suite, Newk's Time and A Night at the Village Vanguard. While you're at it, pick up the mesmerizing G-Man live CD from 1986, or pick up a ticket when Rollins comes to town in 2001. If Rollins can't quite back up his claim, alluded to in Open Sky, that he is getting better every day, it's only because his septuagenarian tsunamis don't land with quite the same force as the best tracks on The Freelance Years.

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