Sonny Rollins’ mid-sixties experiment with bossa nova was completely different than was Stan Getz “Jazz Samba”. Rollins stayed true to his bop and avant garde roots, using bossa nova as a surgeon uses a scalpel, to dissect and deconstruct familiar melodies and turn them into something new.
This hip reinterpretation of standards is Sonny’s trademark, and in this album it’s uncompromising. The whole album is interesting and highly original, but I will only comment on one cut, Rollin’s deconstruction of a sentimental broadway ballad from ‘Camelot.’ He takes the kitch out of this tune and turns it into a fierce meditation on the origins of jazz, the mystery of rhythm, and the fundamental particles of melody. Rollin’s version of ‘If Ever I Would Leave You’ is nothing less than this: one of the greatest tenor solos in the history of jazz. A. K. L. "flamotte”