1956, Sonny Rollins was spiritually and physically rejuvenated. And on Sonny Rollins Plus 4, he's clearly inspired by Max Roach and Clifford Brown's depth of spirit. Multi-dimensional re-arrangements of popular songs were a Brown-Roach trademark. "Kiss and Run" is treated to a stop-and-go intro, then settles into a brisk 4/4, as Rollins, Brown, and the perennially underrated Richie Powell fashion long dancing lines. "I Feel a Song Coming On" creates tension by alternating a vamp figure with a swinging release. Rollins takes an immense solo, contrasting chanting figures and foghorn-like long tones with Parker-ish elisions, and Brown answers with buzzing figures and daring harmonic extensions. Then Roach takes things out with sweeping melodic choruses and polyrhythmic fanfares, setting the stage for a torrid tenor-trumpet duel. On "Valse Hot," there's an early example of a successful jazz waltz as Rollins offers up one of his most charming themes. Max Roach treats the European three with the dancing elan of an American four, and Rollins responds by floating in between the beat, syncopating in Monk-ish stabs and thrusts, as Brown answers with the kind of rhythmically complex, sweetly articulated melodic lines that have inspired every modern trumpeter.
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AllMusic Review by Rovi Staff