Sonny Rollins, Vol. 2, recorded for Blue Note, is a timeless session and a milestone in jazz history that gathered together some of the founding fathers of the post-bop era. Joining Rollins are Jazz Messengers Art Blakey on drums and Horace Silver on piano, Miles Davis' favorite bassist Paul Chambers, the quintessential trombonist J.J. Johnson, and even Thelonious Monk himself. The tour de force in swing begins with a bang and doesn't let up until the last note has faded away. Rollins' own uptempo "Why Don't I" kicks off the session with a rhythmic jolt before his big tenor launches into a classic swinging solo followed by turns from Johnson and Silver and some heated exchanges with Blakey. The aptly titled "Wail March" begins deceptively with a street-beat groove before careening into several blistering solo choruses. Monk sits in for his own "Misterioso" and "Reflections," two quintessential works from this eccentric master that are given excellent readings here. The bouncing "You Stepped Out of a Dream" provides some tasty interaction between Rollins and Johnson. Finally, the lilting "Poor Butterfly" is a nice bluesy ending to this all-star session.
Sonny Rollins, Vol. 2 Review