Selected Track: Theres No Business Like Show Business
That Irving Berlin song must be the most ironic and unlikely choice of title imaginable, it must be Sonny having a laugh.
George Morrow (b) Max Roach (d) Ray Bryant (p); Sonny Rollins (ts) Recorded December 2, 1955, Hackensack, NJ.
Recorded at the end of 1955, the year in which Rollins made the break from his drug habit, and six months before recording Saxophone Colossus. Jazz critic Joe Goldberg wrote of Worktime “many feel it is the best record Rollins ever made.” Perhaps they should have called it Playtime, to hear Sonny Rollins having fun deconstructing tunes in a way that would have a lesser saxophonist fumbling. Sonny keeps referring back to the tune but he also at times creates an astonishing rain of notes over what might otherwise be an unpromising set of chord changes. Max Roach maintains Sonny’s propulsive drive, and Ray Bryant piano continues to hold everything together, in the best coach and horses fashion, with Sonny steaming ahead.
Vinyl: Esquire 32-038, first UK release of US Prestige PRLP 7020 (shown below)
The Esquire is taken from stampers from the original master of 7020, which should ensure as direct a lineage as possible. Prestige went on to re-issue Worktime as 7246 (NJ) and later still as 7750 (OJC)
I didn’t know Prestige went in for matching His and Hers covers, and I haven’t found a good reason for the difference. May be the Vinyl Detective Squad can help. (But no rough stuff, boys. I don’t need Internal Affairs on my back.The mayor’s up for re-election this year and we need results, fast)
I prefer the US original cover to the British “woodcut” by “Sherlock“, but a JazzCollector 2009 post says of the Esquire: “Now this is an awesome cover. The drawing is reminiscent of David Stone Martin. I, frankly, hadn’t seen this cover before so I’m hoping someone out there has more knowledge about it and can share it. I just think it’s a terrific cover all the way around” No accounting for taste.
One of those days, you walk into a shop where your expectations are set somewhere near zero, and winking at you from the wall was this little baby. Someone had brought in a collection of records from a dearly departed relative, with a taste in jazz not shared by his beneficiary. I look on it as recycling, for the greater good. Better than the time I was chatting to a young lad who had inherited an entire collection of Blue Notes to die for – and decided he “quite liked them” and was hoping to find more to fill in the gaps. Lost for another generation, damn. “Mind how you cross the road now, sonny!”