Sax Legend Sonny Rollins – “Freedom Weaver: The 1959 European Tour Recordings” (4-LP Set) to Arrive April 20th, 2024

Dazzling Live Sides by Sonny Rollins Receive First Authorized Release on Resonance’s Record Store Day Offering “Freedom Weaver: The 1959 European Tour Recordings”

RICHMOND, Calif., Feb. 17, 2024 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Resonance Records, the award-winning home of archival jazz treasures, will proudly present a new, fully authorized live collection by tenor master Sonny Rollins, “Freedom Weaver: The 1959 European Tour Recordings,” as a limited edition four-LP set on Record Store Day, April 20.

Never before issued as a legitimate release, these much-bootlegged sides—which feature Rollins, at the height of his early powers, with bassist Henry Grimes and drummers Pete La Roca, Kenny Clarke, and Joe Harris—will subsequently reach stores as a three-CD set and digital download edition on April 26.

Sonny Rollins is a motivic genius. He’s a jazz equivalent of Bach, really. He can develop anything. For me, you could take any little fragment of Sonny’s and turn it into your own composition.

This stunning package captured at Rollins’s concerts and radio and TV appearances in Sweden, Switzerland, Holland, Germany, and France in March 1959 succeeds Resonance’s first fully authorized music drawn from the Dutch Jazz Archive (NJA), 2020’s “Rollins in Holland,” a widely praised collection of 1967 live dates.

The LP edition of “Freedom Weaver” was mastered for 180-gram vinyl by Bernie Grundman. The deluxe booklet for both configurations will include detailed notes by the Grammy-winning writer Bob Blumenthal; a new interview with Rollins; thoughtful tributes from fellow tenorists Branford Marsalis, Joe Lovano, James Carter, James Brandon Lewis, and the late Peter Brötzmann; and rare photographs by Ed van der Elsken, Jean Pierre Leloir, Bob Parent, and others.

Resonance co-president and producer Zev Feldman says of the forthcoming set, “In the spring of 2022, I spoke to Sonny about the possibility of releasing what I regard as very important recordings which have only been available until now as unauthorized releases: these masterpieces recorded during Sonny’s European tour in 1959. It’s a crime that Mr. Rollins has never been paid for bootleggers’ exploitations of his work. With this release, we at Resonance are taking another step to ameliorate the wrongs committed by those who would misappropriate the creative output of this magnificent artist.”

The famously exacting Rollins told Feldman, “Listening to older recordings of myself years after they were made, I tend to be self-critical. I’m always trying to get better. But on these recordings, I was in a good mood, and some of the places we played I hadn’t been to before. I was uplifted because I was appreciated there. Everything seemed to be happy within the groups and in the performances. It was all very positive and I’m actually very happy that Resonance has gotten together with me to put them out. I think they add to who I am and what I’ve done.”

In a 1961 letter quoted in Aidan Levy’s monumental 2022 biography “Saxophone Colossus,” Rollins said of his European experience, “This tour proved to be most educational in several ways. For not only did I realize for the first time (and firsthand) the genuine respect and admiration with which jazz is received, but I also learned an important biological lesson: That…there is a true brotherhood of all people!”

In his notes, jazz scholar Blumenthal views the ’59 shows as a culminating event for the artist: “It was not until the spring of 1957…that he attempted an entire session with just bass and drums in support. The resulting Contemporary Records album “Way Out West,” promoted as an all-star conclave of Rollins and perennial poll winners Ray Brown and Shelly Manne, became an instant classic, but it was no fluke. Rollins reveled in the harmonic freedom afforded by the absence of a comping piano or guitar, and in the months that followed produced two additional trio masterpieces, “A Night at the Village Vanguard” on Blue Note (primarily with Wilbur Ware and Elvin Jones) and “Freedom Suite” on Riverside (with Oscar Pettiford and Max Roach). This unintended triptych…defined what came to be Rollins’s preferred working format, the one he chose to employ when he made his first European tour in February and March of 1959.”

Rollins’s deep impact on succeeding generations of saxophonists is delineated in the interviews conducted by Feldman expressly for “Freedom Weaver.”

In an interview held just eight months before his death, the German free jazz giant Brötzmann offered deep gratitude to his masterful forebear: “I always said to my colleagues here, ‘Man, Rollins is my man.’ As an artist, you have to find your own way, your own language, your own way of moving through the world. Sonny Rollins’s example served as a great inspiration, a teacher for me to propel me to develop my own stuff, my own language. I looked to Sonny for that inspiration.”

SOURCE Resonance Records

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