Sonny Rollins, Alfie

Britt Robson

By Britt Robson

on 09.10.12 in Reviews


Sonny Rollins

A brilliant film score that stands alone on its brash musical merits, Alfie follows the dramatic arc of a young Lothario (played by Michael Caine) who eventually gets his comeuppance. “Alfie’s Theme” captures his raffish swagger with resonant flair — it is the jazz equivalent of “Shaft” and became a staple of Sonny Rollins’s live shows. The rest of the disc is likewise inspired, with a couple of poignant, midtempo ballads and an antic number appropriately titled “Street Runner with Child.” The estimable Oliver Nelson provides horn arrangements and orchestrations for brass that aren’t as prominent as you’d expect (a good thing). The core quintet includes guitarist Kenny Burrell and pianist Roger Kellaway as the secondary soloists, bassist Walter Booker providing that rubbery pulse Rollins prefers, and the leader utilizing that plush, slightly nasal tone through bold but self-contained passages on a project that meshed with his appetite for new forms of expression.