APBL 2320 Newk's Time
Recording by Rudy Van Gelder
Released on 1959
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
APBL 2320 cover
[high resolution scan]
 

W hen Philly Joe Jones plays the kit, time stops. It’s one of the small miracles you could expect from a Sonny Rollins set in this, his heyday. While generally not regarded as a landmark recording, the first side of music on Newk’s Time remains a personal favorite of mine. The wild, changing rhythms of “Asiatic Raes,” the staccato swordfight between Jones and Rollins on “Tune Up,” and the way Rollins stiff-arms the persistent melody of “Wonderful! Wonderful” like some bebop traffic cop are exactly what you’d expect from the world’s greatest tenor saxophone player. Coltrane’s star was on the ascension, but at this moment in time Sonny outshines them all. The second side, unfortunately, holds few revelations. “Surrey” is a brave interpretation of the Broadway classic (from Oklahoma!), with only Jones and Rollins on board, but it’s too mathematical for my melody-loving mind. The lone original, “Blues for Philly Joe,” is standard stuff that jazz bands were releasing in bushelfulls and, ironically, is one of the few cuts where Jones doesn’t get to solo. The closing “Namely You” is a romantic ballad that lacks the bite of Sonny’s best work, a perfunctory performance whose most memorable moment occurs in its punctuated ending. Rollins’ unconventional rhythms and defiant diction are arresting, and with Jones he had a willing and highly skilled accomplice. Wynton Kelly and Doug Watkins here play smaller supporting roles. A solo from Watkins on “Tune Up” that improbably keeps time in the face of physical exhaustion, a wonderfully turned phrase from Kelly on “Blues for Philly Joe,” those are the pair’s brief moments to shine in the shadow of Sonny and Philly. In the 1980s, Applause re-released this among a slew of Blue Note recordings, a mix of classics and archival dustings. Newk’s Time may not be a timeless record, but the first side never fails to rekindle my admiration for the man.

TRACK LISTING

  1. TUNE UP    (Miles Davis)    5:45
  2. ASIATIC RAES    (Kenny Dorham)    5:50
  3. WONDERFUL! WONDERFUL!    (Ben Raleigh/Sherman Edwards)    6:00
  4. THE SURREY WITH THE FRINGE ON TOP    (Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein II)    6:30
  5. BLUES FOR PHILLY JOE    (Sonny Rollins)    6:40
  6. NAMELY YOU    (Johnny Mercer/Gene DePaul)    3:17

CREDITS

SONNY ROLLINS -- tenor sax
PHILLY JOE JONES -- drums
WYNTON KELLY -- piano
DOUG WATKINS -- bass
Francis Wolff -- cover photo
Joe Goldberg -- liner notes

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US 1959 Blue Note LP BLP-4001  
US   Liberty LP BST-84001  
US   Applause LP APBL 2320  
US   Blue Note CD 90833 digital remaster

 

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