Sonny Rollins – Reel Life – Milestone/Original Jazz Classics/Concord OJC-31335, 35:33 ***:
(Sonny Rollins – tenor saxophone, Bobby Broom – electric guitar, Yoshiaki Masuo – acoustic guitar (#3), electric guitar (#1, 2, 4, 6, 7), Bob Cranshaw – electric bass, Jack DeJohnette – drums)
Reel Life, originally released in 1982, has been 24-bit digitally re-mastered and released for the first time on CD on the Original Jazz Classics label. A musical pioneer who transformed the modern jazz era, Rollins took his Caribbean-infused funk-bop stylings and teamed up with bluesy soul guitar greats Bobby Broom and Bob Cranshaw. Drummer Jack DeJohnette keeps the beat and shines on McGhee as well as maintaining the backbone on Sonny‘s solos. The best tunes on the album are McGhee and My Little Brown Book; the listener gets a taste of Sonny’s four-plus decades of his mastered craft.
Not my favorite release by Rollin’s, but still a classic album that stands out thanks to perhaps the greatest tenor saxophonist of all time. Reel Life’s 35 minutes goes by pretty quickly. I would have liked to have seen some alternate takes or cuts on this release. Most labels are putting in a little extra these days to sweeten the pot and entice buyers to purchase a re-mastered album.
1. Reel Life
3. Rosita’s Best Friend
4. Sonny Side Up
5. My Little Brown Book
6. Best Wishes
7. Solo Reprise (Sonny)
— Paul Pelon IV