One of the true monumental figures of jazz who is still vibrantly recording and performing, Sonny Rollins was still an upstart tenor saxman in 1956 when he delivered Plus Four, a classic date with the Clifford Brown-Max Roach Quintet (of which he was a member). About the session, which featured Brown in one of his last recording dates, liner note writer Ira Gitler points out, "Within the overall empathy of Brown/Roach were interior connections: Roach, a master soloist himself, with all the soloists; and the bonding of Rollins and Brown." In regards to Rollins’ playing of the standards chosen for this date, Gitler adds, "Sonny has always had a head for picking and playing old tunes but he also has used them to write his own lines. He knows a good melody when he hears one and, as a soloist, he is a melodist at any and all tempos." Included on the disc are Rollins originals, "Valse Hot" (a scorching waltz) and the soon-to-be-standard "Pent-Up House."
"I was the engineer on the recording sessions and I also made the masters for the original LP issues of these albums. Since the advent of the CD, other people have been making the masters. Mastering is the final step in the process of creating the sound of the finished product. Now, thanks to the folks at the Concord Music Group who have given me the opportunity to remaster these albums, I can present my versions of the music on CD using modern technology. I remember the sessions well, I remember how the musicians wanted to sound, and I remember their reactions to the playbacks. Today, I feel strongly that I am their messenger."
—Rudy Van Gelder