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Parent Issue
Day
22
Month
January
Year
1976
OCR Text

Nucleus (Milestone)r Sonny Rollins, now 46 years oíd, has rolled with the changes in jazz since the 1950's. He is one of jazzdom's leading tenor saxophomsts, known for his beautiful tone, his ability to improvise on the melody-and for adopting, or adapting to, the latest jazz styles. Uis newest album for Milestone, Nucleus, demonstrates tliis latter trait as he gets deep into jazz-funk. The album opens with a Rollins original entitled "Lucille." The song has a nice, cátchy melody which Rollins states in a gritty tone reminiscent of Illinois Jacquet. However, the proceedtngs begin to drag as George Duke introduces synthesized strings, giving the song a definilc "schlock" sound. Wah-wah guitar completes the picture, making the cut just right for disco airplay. Tliere is a pleasant chorus or two when Rollins solos with Bennie Maupin restating the thenie in the background, bul this becomes tiring as the idea is repeated over and over until the song l'inally fades out. 1 his funkiness reappeais on "Gwaligo" and "Are You Ready?"and becomes a total Sly Stone rip-off on the title track (spelled N-e-w-kl-e-u-s). In this format, Rollins' playing is uninspired at best. boring at worst. Sónny needs more involved tunes to be able to stretch out and improvise, llcre he is restricted to one or two chords, and the result is sadly lacking ('modal riffing' is a term that applies well here). Uut all is not lost. Frospects bnghten with "Azelia," which utiüzes a Standard bop opening with the horns playing in unisón (albeit a bit roughly). There are nice solos by Duke on elcctnc pi.i jud In _ Maupin, who shows that he's been listening to Rollins and Coltrane. A smooth, upbeat unisón ret rain ends the song. Tha record doses with two becoming tunes. "Cosmet" starts with an anaccompanied solo by Rollins, the band t'illinc in behind him to produce a light and lively sound. Trombonist Raul de Souza takes a fine solo, as does Maupin, playing somethiñg called a saxella. The number doses with the three trading tast, short solos and riding out the ending in unisón. The last song, "My Rêverie" (based on Debussy's "Rêverie"), again starts with a Rollins solo, here sounding a bit like Gato, and flows into a duet with Maupin (on bass clarinet). We hear decent solos by Düke on acoustic piano and a clear toned, driving de Souza. Very nice. l'unk aside. one could still cali this a fair album, mainly because of these latter songs. If Rollins really likes recording AM material like "Newkleus," I can only wish him the best, and remember him by such gieat albums as Saxophone Colossus and Rollins Plays for Bird. If he is doing this for the money, I wish he would see that personal, non-trendy statements are being made by such artists as Mingus and are commercial succcsses. Until then. I guess Sonnv will just keep on rollin'.