Milestone Profiles

Sonny Rollins / Jimmy Scott

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Since forming in 1966, Milestone Records has stayed the acoustic jazz course amid all manner of pop crossover. The label celebrated its 40th year in '06, and released five Milestone Profiles CDs of legendary artists: organist Jimmy Smith, pianist McCoy Tyner, saxophonist Joe Henderson and, to these ears the most noteworthy collections, those of Jimmy Scott and Sonny Rollins.

Scott embodies the notion of an acquired taste. His voice is unflinchingly feminine (due to a hormone disorder he was born with); he draws out his phrases and lags behind the beat, but — if you're able to really tune in — his interpretive prowess on standards is profoundly emotional. This profile collects tracks from his Milestone albums in 2000 and 2001, and features such lovely songs as "Smile," "Mood Indigo," "Darn that Dream" and others.

Rollins, 75, a top-tier jazz legend and titan of the tenor sax, has called Milestone home since 1972. This comp captures a broad array of his stylistic forays, beginning with a thrilling, five-minute solo intro to "Autumn Nocturne." "Duke of Iron" showcases his love of calypso and the spunky improvisations he could ladle over the bouncy island beat. "Tennessee Waltz" is an example of how Rollins could take a song considered schmaltzy and lend it some genuine jazz cred. Overall, Rollins' post-Milestone work doesn't compete historically with what he produced beforehand (Saxophone Colossus, Freedom Suite, The Bridge, Alfie), but there's still more than enough terrific music to pack a retrospective CD. (www.concordmusicgroup.com) 4 stars

About The Author

Eric Snider

Eric Snider is the dean of Bay area music critics. He started in the early 1980s as one of the founding members of Music magazine, a free bi-monthly. He was the pop music critic for the then-St. Petersburg Times from ‘87-’93. Snider was the music critic, arts editor and senior editor of Weekly Planet/Creative...
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