Skip to content

Sonny Rollins | Go West! The Contemporary Records Albums (2023)



Go West! The Contemporary Records Albums combines legendary Jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins’ two studio albums for Lester Koenig’s Contemporary Records, Way Out West and And The Contemporary Leaders, with a third disc, Contemporary Alternate Takes. Featuring remastered audio by Bernie Grundman, the set is presented in a 3-CD box and includes an expanded booklet with new notes and interview by GRAMMY® Award-winning music historian Ashley Kahn, including a new 2021 interview with Sonny Rollins. Craft Recirdings

WALTER THEODORE ROLLINS was born on September 7, 1930 in New York City. He grew up in Harlem not far from the Savoy Ballroom, the Apollo Theatre, and the doorstep of his idol, Coleman Hawkins. After early discovery of Fats Waller and Louis Armstrong, he started out on alto saxophone, inspired by Louis Jordan. At the age of sixteen, he switched to tenor, trying to emulate Hawkins. He also fell under the spell of the musical revolution that surrounded him, bebop.
He began to follow Charlie Parker, and soon came under the wing of Thelonious Monk, who became his musical mentor and guru. When he was living in Sugar Hill, his neighborhood musical peers included Jackie McLean, Kenny Drew, and Art Taylor, but it was young Sonny who was first out of the pack, working and recording with Babs Gonzales, J.J. Johnson, Bud Powell, and Miles Davis before he turned twenty.
“Of course, these people are there to be called on because I think I represent them in a way,” Rollins has said of his peers and mentors. “They’re not here now so I feel like I’m sort of representing all of them, all of the guys. Remember, I’m one of the last guys left, as I’m constantly being told, so I feel a holy obligation sometimes to evoke these people.”
In the early fifties, he established a reputation first among musicians, then the public, as the most brash and creative young tenor on the scene, through his work with Miles, Monk, and the MJQ.
Miles Davis was an early Sonny Rollins fan and in his autobiography wrote that he “began to hang out with Sonny Rollins and his Sugar Hill Harlem crowd… anyway, Sonny had a big reputation among a lot of the younger musicians in Harlem. People loved Sonny Rollins up in Harlem and everywhere else. He was a legend, almost a god to a lot of the younger musicians. Some thought he was playing the saxophone on the level of Bird. I know one thing–he was close. He was an aggressive, innovative player who always had fresh musical ideas. I loved him back then as a player and he could also write his ass off…”
Sonny moved to Chicago for a few years to remove himself from elements of negativity around the jazz scene. He reemerged at the end of 1955 as a member of the Clifford Brown-Max Roach Quintet, with an even more authoritative presence. Sonny Rollins biography

Sonny Rollins: Go West! The Contemporary Records Albums

Disc 1: Way Out West
1. I’m An Old Cowhand
2. Solitude
3. Come, Gone
4. Wagon Wheels
5. There Is No Greater Love
6. Way Out West

Disc 2: Sonny Rollins and the Contemporary Leaders
1. I’ve Told Ev’ry Little Star
2. Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody
3. How High The Moon
4. You
5. I’ve Found A New Baby
6. Alone Together
7. In The Chapel In The Moonlight
8. The Song Is You

Disc 3: Contemporary Alternate Takes
1. I’m An Old Cowhand (Alternate Take)
2. Come, Gone (Alternate Take)
3. Way Out West (Alternate Take)
4. The Song Is You (Alternate Take)
5. You (Alternate Take)
6. I’ve Found A New Baby (Alternate Take)

CD Edition:

VINYL Edition:

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

1 thought on “Sonny Rollins | Go West! The Contemporary Records Albums (2023)”

  1. FINALLY after searching through a dozen web pages THIS one gives album titles and track lists. To quote a line from the Popeye theme song, he has my feelings, “I’m a gazookus who hates all palookas that ain’t on the up and square.”.

    To save you the trouble of looking up disused English slang,
    Gazookus:: the genuine article
    Palooka: a washed out pugilist; a looser

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *