His Own Worst Critic

Sonny Rollins's best album in nearly three decades is the healing force of the universe

Better he should come out blowing.
photo: John Abbott
Better he should come out blowing.

Without a Song is reportedly the last album Rollins owes Milestone, his label since 1972, under the terms of his current contract. Concord Jazz now owns Fantasy, Milestone's parent label, and if Rollins no longer feels any loyalty and decides to leave, Blue Note and Verve figure to be right there waiting. A major would spring novel ideas on him, and this wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. A tussle with Ornette Coleman, Lee Konitz, or David S. Ware and Matthew Shipp? An album of Billie Holiday songs with Bill Charlap? A Stephen Foster project? Taping all of his concerts and choosing the best material for release, forgoing the studio altogether? I've got plenty of ideas. Including this hot young drummer I know.

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