If the great tenor saxophonist-composer Sonny Rollins’s lengthy recording career may be likened to a three-act play, then his years as Milestone Records artist are a most compelling, extended third act. Rollins (b. 1930) has been with Milestone since 1972, when he returned to the studio after a six-year hiatus. Since then, he’s made a remarkable series of albums that have helped cement his exalted place as "the greatest living musical improviser."
The elements of Rollins’s celebrated style include virile tone, harmonic incisiveness, and rhythmic grandmastery suffused with knowledge, wisdom, and wit. He’s also renowned for his fearless cadenzas, like the one on "Autumn Nocturne" that so audaciously begins this disc. And, too, there are the joyous calypsos, reflecting his West Indian heritage, as well as bebop and freebop, a ballad ("Skylark") that stands with any he’s ever recorded, and a life-affirming answer to the eternal question, "Why Was I Born?" A noble profile, indeed.