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Sonny Rollins Plus 4

Clifford Brown, Sonny Rollins, Max RoachAudio CD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Price: $8.41 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Audio CD, Import, 2008 $43.52  
Audio CD, 1991 $8.41  
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Audio Cassette, 2002 --  

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Sonny Rollins Plus 4 + Saxophone Colossus
Price for both: $20.30

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 1, 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Prestige / OJC
  • ASIN: B000000YDP
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,749 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Valse Hot
2. Kiss And Run
3. I Feel A Song Comin' On
4. Count Your Blessings Instead Of Sheep
5. Pent-Up House

Editorial Reviews

The tenor saxophonist is listed as the leader, but Sonny Rollins Plus Four is nothing other than the Clifford Brown-Max Roach Quintet recording for a different label (Prestige rather than Emarcy) in 1956 mere months before Brown's tragic death at age 25 in a car crash. One of the great ensembles in jazz history, the Quintet shows its inventiveness and rhythmic daring were at their peak in such numbers as "Valse Hot" and Rollins's "Pent-Up House." The only flaw of the 32-minute album is that it--like Clifford Brown's life--is too short. --David Horiuchi

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The only problem is it's too short March 13, 2000
Format:Audio CD
You might be disappointed in the length of this CD, as it checks in at a mere 32 minutes. Sure, in the days of vinyl that was acceptable, but we spoiled CD buyers have come to expect 45-75 minutes per disc. Rest assured that although you'll want more music at the conclusion of "Plus 4," every minute that you spend with Sonny and company will be time well spent.
Besides, after you listen to his cover of the chestnut "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep," you might decide that length is overrated. The tune consumes a mere 2 minutes, 29 seconds. But during that brief time, Rollins not only has enough time to beautifully sketch the melody, but also to construct an airtight solo that sounds like a definitive statement on the theme. Like a great meal, it doesn't leave you wanting more; instead, you're perfectly satisfied. It also shows that Rollins, a mere 26 when "Plus 4" was recorded, was well on his way to becoming a saxophone giant.
"Plus 4" also finds Rollins in fine company. The great Clifford Brown's trumpet playing makes us regret again his all-too-early departure. He and Rollins sound like they could have made a dozen good records together had Brown lived. Max Roach delivers his usual impeccable time keeping and solo voice, and Richie Powell contributes a sprightly presence on piano, particularly on "Kiss and Run."
If you find yourself wanting a heavier Rollins meal after this one, check out his "Complete Prestige Recordings" (7 discs), which includes the tunes from "Plus 4."
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Jazz Masterwork January 4, 2003
Format:Audio CD
Although under Sonny Rollins' name, the quintet on this masterpiece is the Brown-Roach Quintet, featuring (as Pee Wee at Birdland would have it) "the trumpet sensation, Clifford Brown." Thankfully, Prestige recorded the group in March 1956 so that Rollins and Brown were captured ensemble. The record is brief, but important. The disc begins with Rollins' "Valse Hot" a jazz waltz that features fine solos by Rollins and Brown followed by Richie Powell on piano and a Max Roach drum solo. "Kiss and Run" features a fine Rollins solo and a driving virtuoso performance by Brown spurred by Roach's masterful drumming. The Powell solo is commanding and lyrical and the traded breaks by Rollins, Roach, and Brown are almost the equal of the dialogue between Rollins and Brown that conclude this track. These interchanges are cause enough to own the disc. But the great stuff doesn't end there. "I Feel a Song Coming On" begins with a breakneck Rollins solo followed by Brownie at peak tempo and inventiveness. Max' solo is tasteful and explosive and there is another Rollins/Brown dialog that's quick and clean. "Count Your Blessings" features Rollins as a balladeer and it's apt testimony to the lessons that he had learned from Lester Young as well as Charlie Parker. Lyrical and inventive, it simply swings. The disc concludes with "Pent-Up House," a Rollins original that fairly explodes with improvisation and vitality. This was one of the great jazz groups, unfortunately ended with the untimely deaths of Powell and Brown. This disc is a fit companion to the "Brown-Roach Quintet at Basin Street" (January-February 1956) and any serious collection should contain both.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you only buy one Sonny Rollins CD, make it "Plus 4." February 3, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
I'll never understand the pattern of jazz listeners. "Saxophone Colossus" is heralded and revered by you, but "Plus 4" is buried way down with the also-rans. There's no explanation for the difference in reception between the two. This is one of the best cd's you'll ever own. "Varse Hot," "Kiss and Run," and "Pent-Up House" are just masterful. The interactions between sax and trumpet complement each other so well, and the tunes really swing. You'll just love it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...And boy are they a good four! March 14, 2008
Format:Audio CD
Alas, the Brown-Roach Quintet didn't record exclusively for EmArcy! This gem was recorded for Prestige and tends to be overlooked in favor of the more famous material owned by Mercury. Prestige is the record label most notable for its blowing sessions, which is exactly why you want to hear this group in that mold.

Never has the quintet sounded mightier: never had Sonny Rollins sounded so comfortable riding the soundscapes of a rhythm section, never had Clifford Brown ventured into such great lands (such as a solo only accompanied by walking bass), never had Richie Powell played with such confidence and rhythmic fluency, never had George Morrow set such a rock-solid bass undertone, and of course, never had Max Roach been so active, busy, and attention-demanding on the drumset. "Sonny Rollins Plus Four" sees him leading the famous quintet through new, fascinating, and smoking-hot repertoire.

While this may be the Brown-Roach quintet featuring Clifford Brown in one of his three sidemen appearances, make no mistake that this is Sonny Rollins' album and that his sound is the focus of its music. Sonny Rollins is jazz's most famous adventurer into the realm of waltzing in ¾ time, kick-started by his remarkable composition "Valse Hot." This is probably one of the very first times that the quintet's members had ever played (and soloed!) in a waltz setting, but they don't get lost in the least - they plow right through its bouncy lilt. Rollins' other composition on the album, "Pent-Up House," is another famous tune that has made its way into the Real Book, being an expert study and test in the II-V-I turnaround. Pent-Up House features possibly Clifford Brown's best solo on record; with such rhythmically mature phrasing, it almost sounds like it was written ahead of time.
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