It seems amazing, really, given the casualty rate among the first wave of bop musicians, but Sonny Rollins has actually had a jazz career that stretches over a half-century and he is still active and recording in the early part of the 21st century. It hasn't been a haphazard career, either. While Rollins hasn't been as openly innovative and exploratory as players like John Coltrane, he was a definite influence on Trane as well as every other bop and post-bop sax player to come on the scene. This varied little set makes a nice introductory primer to Rollins' peak years, drawing on sides he cut for the Blue Note, Prestige, Riverside and Contemporary imprints between 1956 and 1966, sessions that included work with Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Stitt, Max Roach, Clifford Brown, Elvin Jones, Jimmy Garrison, Roy Haynes, the Modern Jazz Quartet and many others. It isn't exhaustive, and for Rollins fans it won't be even close to nearly enough, but it makes a fine starter kit to one of the finest tenor sax players in the history of jazz.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett