While this sampler will be best appreciated by Rollins neophytes, The Best of Sonny Rollins still packs it in with a bevy of quality sides from the tenor great's brief but highly productive two-year stay at the label from 1956-1957. Sure, some may differ on what would have been the best cuts to cull, but the material that was taken from both volumes of his eponymous sessions ("Decision," "Misterioso"), Newk's Time ("Tune Up"), and the Night at the Village Vanguard recordings ("Striver's Row") all show off Rollins in optimal light. He was in his hard bop prime during this time, and the presence of Thelonious Monk, Donald Byrd, Elvin Jones, Wilbur Ware, and other top players only adds to the rarefied air. A fine way to start your Rollins collection.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook