Sonny Rollins 3CD Box Set : Go West! : The Contemporary Records Albums : Review

Sonny Rollins’ “Go West”: A Jazz Journey with Craft Recordings

The Craft Behind “Go West”
Craft Recordings, known for their meticulous attention to detail, have outdone themselves with this release. The last time I spoke about them, it was about a vinyl release. But this time, it’s a CD box set, and it’s a testament to their dedication to music collectors. By “collectors,” I mean those of us who cherish, play, and immerse ourselves in music, not just for its potential future value.

Inside the Box
“Go West” is a part of Craft Recordings’ 70th-anniversary series. This deluxe 3CD set boasts 24-bit remastering from the original stereo by Bernie Grundman. The 44-page booklet is a treasure trove of vintage photos, exclusive liner notes from Grammy award-winning music historian Ashley Khan, and features jazz legends like Barney Kessel, Hampton Hawes, Leroy Vinnegar, Shelly Manne, and more.

The packaging replicates the original album designs, complete with spines reminiscent of the old Columbia box sets. The remastering quality is impeccable, making the music sound as vibrant and fresh as it did decades ago.

The Booklet: A Deep Dive
The accompanying booklet isn’t just a few stapled pages; it’s a comprehensive guide. It contains two insightful essays, making it an essential read for both jazz newcomers and seasoned enthusiasts. Ashley Khan’s essay from August 2021 provides a rich backdrop, while a 2021 interview with Sonny Rollins offers a contemporary reflection on his illustrious career.

The Music: Timeless Jazz
This period, roughly from 1955 to 1965, is often considered the golden age of jazz. Albums from this era, like Dave Brubeck’s, Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue,” and John Coltrane’s classics, are timeless. “Go West” fits right into this illustrious group, with tracks that transport you to a smoky jazz club, where the melodies flow as smoothly as the whiskey.

The Verdict
For those embarking on a jazz journey, “Go West” is an essential pitstop. And for the seasoned jazz lovers, this box set is a collector’s dream. While it’s also available in a vinyl format, this CD version is a sonic delight, especially considering the age of the recordings.

In conclusion, Craft Recordings’ “Go West” is a testament to Sonny Rollins’ enduring legacy and the timeless appeal of jazz. It’s a musical journey that every enthusiast should embark on.

Phil Aston | Now Spinning Magazine

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