Following on the heels of his magisterial work with Miles Davis on BAGS' GROOVE, Sonny Rollins entered Van Gelder Studios with a fire-breathing quintet on August 18, 1954, resulting in four of the five selections which make up MOVING OUT. This might just as well have been titled "Busting Out," because MOVING OUT represents a breakthrough for Rollins as a bandleader and an improviser.
Rollins really stretches out on the title tune and "Swingin' For Bumsy," playing with a new-found rhythmic command and melodic authority--spreading his wings and flying with Bird-like harmonic declamations, and a dramatic flair all his own. The oft-neglected Kenny Dorham proves a brash soaring foil, but it is the legendary pianist Elmo Hope who really arouses the Heath Blakey axis. Hope's dense, dancing accompaniements prod the soloists into uncharted waters, while his limber, sprawling improvisations represent a singular school of modern piano, occupying a space somewhere between Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk. On the ballad "Silk N' Satin," Hope's brief interlude provides a dark spiritual contrast to Rollins' romantic yearning, while his blues shouts and broad harmonic brushstrokes on "Solid" inspire Rollins to really dig in and shout.
"More Than You Know" is an extra track from one of the sessions which produced THELONIOUS MONK AND SONNY ROLLINS, and it is a ballad performance of enormous gravity. Under Monk's watchful eye--and thanks in part to the pianist's orchestral manner of feeding the soloist chords--you can hear the saxophonist beginning to move beyond the ballad stylings of Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young, and into a new, more personal realm of rhythmic and harmonic complexity. Meanwhile, Monk's extended solo is a remarkable roadmap of the master's harmonic devices, all in the service of the mood and the melody.
Personnel: Kenny Dorham (tp) Sonny Rollins (ts) Elmo Hope, Thelonious Monk (p) Percy Heath, Tommy Potter (b) Art Blakey, Art Taylor (d)
01 Movin' Out
02 Swingin' for Bumsy
03 Silk 'N' Satin
05 More Than You Know