'Way Out West'

Given that the Western United States is famed for vast spaces, it comes as no surprise that Rollins explores wide ranges of invention at length.

Several months after the above session, famed Easterner Sonny Rollins linked up with a rhythm section from the other coast: bassist Ray Brown, hailing from Pittsburgh’s Oakland, and drummer Shelly Manne.

Another legendary event, it further established Rollins as going his own unique, remarkable way. For example, he does not have a piano or any other instrument to carry main themes.

Given that the Western United States is famed for vast spaces, it comes as no surprise that Rollins explores wide ranges of invention at length.

At the same time, he comes out with driving, pulsing paces. Rollins chose a couple of tunes he’d enjoyed as a movie-going kid, "I’m an Old Cowhand" and "Wagon Wheels," adding his own title piece.

This remastered re-issue, Way Out West, includes three alternate takes. I find two of them more appealing than the other shorter versions.

Meanwhile, bassist Brown charts his own path appealingly soloing all over the territory. It’s a fairly rare opportunity to hear him standing on his own instead of being a sturdy rock in the foundation behind someone else.