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Sonny Rollins: Road Shows, Volume 3

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Our greatest living jazz musician has not made many great records in recent years. That’s why the first two volumes of Road Shows, in 2008 and 2011, were important. They contained previously unavailable confirmation that the rumors and legends were true: that, on occasional magical nights when the muse was with him, Sonny Rollins concerts could become (in the words of critic Gary Giddins) “musical séances that transcended jazz.”

Volume 1 attains towering heights, but it is a miscellany. It comes from air checks and soundboard tapes over a 27-year period, and is sonically compromised. Volume 2 comes mostly from soundboard tapes of a monumental concert on Rollins’ 80th birthday in 2010 at the Beacon Theatre in New York. It is a revolving door of all-stars-including Rollins’ only recorded meeting with Ornette Coleman-at a one-off event.

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