Archive for September 21, 2005

Sonny Rollins Way Out West


Sitting here waiting on the new job to be confirmed and anxiously awaiting that 2 weeks notice bill on which my boss will probably say something to the effect of, “no you can’t go” or just calmly takes it and maybe talks to me afterwards can’t decide which. My mental arguements have been greater as of late than usual. We all argue with phantoms in our heads, but how often does it get to the point that you can’t sleep? That you keep awake at night mouthing off one-liners to the mirror? Well, anyway, that’s me. While packing my things I mistakenly left Rollins’ Way Out West in the cd player and it’s now on permanent rotation.

I’ll be frank, while I like jazz it’s less impassioned moments have usually left me dry, but Rollins complexity is something of a soundtrack of mental exhaustation.
Stress runs through the backbone of Rollins work. way out west is adorned with a campy picture of Rollins in cowboy gear, walking through a desert. If anything, it seems to be an attempt to locate some aspect of adventerosomeness in what is a sedate, but lyrical exercise. But what makes the album great isn’t it’s restraint, it’s that it’s basically nothing more than un-sentimental melodies and a basic backing band. Watch a film of beatniks, and this is the little instrumental they play in the club before the dancing begins. It’s pretty far from where jazz’s cool club ended up (I rember nearly chocking on a kenny g cover of rahssan roland kirk once), it’s more or less a kinda stoned walk in Brookyln, with a little despair. It’s winter music really, or at least taken the way I feel in winter, it’s winter music. I have to take back my previous comment, it is sentimental, it’s even a little nostalgiac. Rollins is in despair, for a body, and person he once knew. If anything, it’s a reminder that sometimes life lays you low. Rollins isn’t gonna touch those high notes, he isn’t going to shreik, he moves through the crowd of instrumentation content to be a little low. Way Out West reveals in just a little self-pity.

September 21, 2005 at 9:20 pm Leave a comment


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