Sonny Rollins first recorded for Prestige as a teenaged sideman on a 1949 J.J. Johnson session. Seven and a half years later he made his eighteenth and final session for the label. In the intervening period, the promising but uncertain young tenor player from Harlem had matured into a full-toned and powerful artist who was already beginning to be recognized as one of the truly great improvisers in the entire history of jazz.
These seven very full compact discs–offering a total of 90 selections and totaling almost 490 minutes of music–show the rapidly developing young saxophonist as a sideman with his close friends Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, as well as with J.J. Johnson and Art Farmer, and as a leader on ten sessions that feature such jazz immortals as Monk, Max Roach, the legendary Clifford Brown, Kenny Dorham, Tommy Flanagan, Art Blakey, Horace Silver, John Lewis, Milt Jackson, and many others. The many highlights of this collection include the only recorded encounter between Rollins and John Coltrane, and the pivotal Saxophone Colossus album.