Personnel: Sonny Rollins (tenor saxophone); Jim Hall (guitar); Bob Cranshaw (bass); Ben Riley, Harry T. Saunders (drums).
Recorded at RCA Victor Studios, New York, New York on January 30 & February 13 & 14, 1962. Originally released on RCA (2527). Includes liner notes by FRancis Davis and George Avakian.
Personnel: Sonny Rollins (tenor saxophone); Jim Hall (guitar).
Liner Note Author: Arnold Marcus.
Recording information: New York, NY (03/23/1962); San Francisco, CA (03/23/1962); New York, NY (1962-01-30&1962-02-13&1962-); San Francisco, CA (1962-01-30&1962-02-13&1962-).
The 1962 release of THE BRIDGE marked the end of Sonny Rollins's two year-plus hiatus from live performance and recording. An absolutely stunning comeback, the album clearly shows both the technical and spiritual benefits that can be gained from intense woodshedding. Sonny's tone, already legendary, is even more wonderfully full and mellow here. The whole band, especially the amazing Bob Cranshaw on bass, swings so breezily and blows so delicately, even on the up-tempo numbers, that "hard" bop almost seems a misnomer.
The album's title refers to an actual bridge (the Willamsburg, which connects Manhattan and Brooklyn), where Sonny spent long hours practicing alone, and the record possesses a deep, meditative quality which conjures perfectly the image of the city rushing by while a solitary man sits immersed in his music. Guitarist Jim Hall in particular seems to instinctively pick up on Sonny's vibe. On Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child," Hall unfolds long, lush lines that are a model of taste and restraint, perfectly complementing every note of Sonny's sexy, bluesy solos. One of Sonny Rollins's finest albums, THE BRIDGE gives the listener an overwhelming sense of rightness.
Down Beat (3/97, p.59) - 3.5 Stars (out of 5) - "Rollins' 'first comeback' from '62 has alreadcy appeared on CD (THE QUARTETS FEATURING JIM HALL), replete with extra material which is for some reason not included here. the music is unquestionably masterful, with the lean rhythm section...and Hall and Rollins working magic together..."