Sonny Rollins MJQ Perspectives 1951-3

Selection 1: I Know (Miles Davis on  Piano)

Selection 2: With a Song in my Heart

Selection 3: This Love of Mine


Sonny Rollins (ts) Kenny Drew (p) Percy Heath (b) Art Blakey (d) recorded Apex Studios, NYC, December 17, 1951, and

Sonny Rollins (ts) Milt Jackson (vib) John Lewis (p) Percy Heath (b) Kenny Clarke (d) NYC, October 7, 1953


Sonny Rollins in session with MJQ for four tracks of the album, thirteen tracks with other musicians the rest. Sessions from 1951 and 1953, so it’s a young Rollins, with marvelous fluidity. In keeping with the times, tracks little more than two to three minutes each, so a good selection. Interesting to hear Miles Davis sitting in on piano on the selection “Know”. Count Basie on triangle, anyone?

Vinyl: Esquire 32-035 UK release of Prestige 7029.
By a strange coincidence,  an auction of the original Prestige of Rollins/MJQ  closed on UK eBay this week at £174, wrongly identified by Prestige on the front cover as 7020 and not its correct catalogue number 7029

A US copy selling around the same price spotted what the Cornish seller had not. Prestige made the typo (and look at the eyewatering price from Goldmine!)

At £22, my Esquire seems a bit on the cheeky side, but then it doesn’t have that yummy orange Prestige cover with the wrong number on it. However the music is the same, and possibly almost as rare. The original Prestige is a far nicer cover than the Esquire drawn by Harry Peck, which outline bears a remarkable similarity to the Prestige photo of Rollins. Looks like a tracing paper job.

Ouch, this one is grubby! This is where I go into Benedict Cucumber-patch’s Sherlock mode.

“Dr Watson, from the circular pattern, this Esquire LP had at one time served as a house plant pot stand. Occasionally the owner watered the plant, in all probability a variegated cultivar of Sansevieria trifasciata to judge from the infrequency of watering marks.  Compost drained through the roots and out over the LP cover, leaving the blackish residue you see radiating outwards. Exposure to sunlight on only the outer edges confirms it was located in probably in the Central London area, possibly, Baker Street area, 221B to be precise,  owned by a pipe smoking detective. Yes it’s mine, Dr Watson, an unwanted Christmas gift from Mrs Hudson. I never did like the Modern Jazz Quartet. Now fetch me my violin. I feel a sonata coming on”

Collectors Corner

Source: London suburban record store

The third of three Esquires from the same collection, and the worst of the three as regards covers, but then it’s not a very nice cover anyway, so there is  little to be gained by crying over spilled milk that had already gone off.

6 thoughts on “Sonny Rollins MJQ Perspectives 1951-3

  1. You do mean Basil Rathbone of course.
    As a question, what do you think of the various guides that are out for Jazz music. I am just getting started (at 59 I better work fast) so I was wondering if there is something (in addition to your great blog) that might get me up to speed? Thanks,

  2. Oh well, beggars can’t be choosers. Visitors of LJC can only wish for true rips straight from the Avid in the nearby future. Maybe through a simple cable from your amp’s ‘line out’ directly plugged into your computer’s sound card 😉

    • Nice idea but my the Avid is ground floor and about 100 feet away from thePC/ sound card one floor up and two rooms back. . Its only outgoing cable is to the pre-amp.There is a SPDIF out of the preamp for home cinema systems., but I am nervous of sticking anything into or out of unknowns. Its way too expensive to mess up. Sorry guys. What you get is what you get.

  3. Three fabulous tracks to listen to on a dreary Monday morning in a boss-less office 😉

    I like “I Know” the best but it sounds a bit, well, distorted here. It could also be the USB turntable of course.

    • Sounds more or less “normal” here, but who knows, with a 1951 recording on vinyl ripped to MP3 through a £50 USB turntable heard on PC speakers after traveling 1,000 miles through the internet. Hi Fi its not!.

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