The Qobuz Ideal Discography -
Jazzwise Five-star review
Way Out West is a jazz essential, certainly as indispensable as its cover created by William Claxton. For Sonny Rollins, the album is a conglomerate of firsts. Recorded on March 7, 1957 in Los Angeles, the album is the first collaboration of Rollins with two other musical giants: Ray Brown on the bass and Shelly Manne on drums. Also for the first time, Rollins has not invited a piano player to his band and has begun exploring new, powerful solos with a simple rhythm section. His tenor saxophone’s sound is amazing and Brown and Manne are hardly reduced to simple stooges. The trio is working as one, subtle in its conversations and improvisations and powerful when the rhythms get tougher. When Way Out West came out a few years before the launching of Coltrane’s revolution, Sonny Rollins was the undisputed god of the sax kingdom.