A Night at the Village Vanguard

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A Night at the Village Vanguard
Sonny Rollins-A Night at the Village Vanguard (album cover).jpg
Live album by Sonny Rollins
Released 1957
Recorded November 3, 1957
Genre Bop
Hard bop
Label Blue Note/EMI
Sonny Rollins chronology
Newk's Time
A Night at the Village Vanguard
Sonny Side Up

A Night at the Village Vanguard is an album by tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins. It was recorded at the Village Vanguard in New York City.

Recording and music[edit]

This album was the first recorded at the Village Vanguard. Two sessions on the same day – November 3, 1957 – were recorded. In the afternoon, Rollins played with Donald Bailey on bass and Pete LaRoca on drums; in the evening they were replaced by Wilbur Ware (bass) and Elvin Jones (drums).[1]


The Allmusic review by Scott Yanow states: "This CD is often magical. Sonny Rollins, one of jazz's great tenors, is heard at his peak... Not only did Rollins have a very distinctive sound, but his use of time, his sly wit, and his boppish but unpredictable style were completely his own by 1957."[2] Music critic Robert Christgau highly praised the album, writing: "Rollins is charged with venturing far out from these tunes without severing the harmonic moorings normally secured by a piano. He does it again and again – but not without a certain cost in ebullience, texture, and fullness of breath. Impressive always, fun in passing, his improvisations are what avant-garde jazz is for."[3] The album was identified by Scott Yanow in his Allmusic essay "Hard Bop" as one of the 17 Essential Hard Bop Recordings.[4] The Penguin Guide to Jazz gave it a maximum four stars plus crown, concluding that "these are record[ing]s which demand a place in any collection".[5]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[2]
Robert Christgau A−[3]
The Penguin Guide to Jazz 4/4 stars(Crown)[5]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide 4/5 stars[6]

Track listing[edit]

  • Original Album:
  1. "Old Devil Moon"
  2. "Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise"
  3. "Striver's Row"
  4. "Sonnymoon for Two"
  5. "A Night in Tunisia"
  6. "I Can't Get Started"
  • Double CD Re-issue (presented in chronological recording order):
  1. "A Night in Tunisia" (Afternoon take)
  2. "I've Got You Under My Skin" (Afternoon take)
  3. "A Night in Tunisia" (Evening take)
  4. "Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise"
  5. "Four"
  6. "Woody 'n' You"
  7. "Old Devil Moon"
  8. "What Is This Thing Called Love?"
  9. "Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise"
  10. "Sonnymoon for Two" (Rollins)
  11. "I Can't Get Started"
  12. "I'll Remember April"
  13. "Get Happy"
  14. "Striver's Row" (Rollins)
  15. "All the Things You Are"
  16. "Get Happy"



  1. ^ Bailey, C. Michael (August 10, 2005), "Sonny Rollins: A Night At The Village Vanguard" All About Jazz.
  2. ^ a b Yanow, Scott. "A Night at the Village Vanguard > Review". Allmusic. Retrieved June 26, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "A Night at the Village Vanguard > Review". Robert Christgau. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved June 26, 2011. 
  4. ^ Yanow, Scott (November 2, 2010). "Hard Bop (Essay)". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-08-24. 
  5. ^ a b Cook, Richard and Brian Morton (2008), The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th edn.) Penguin, p. 1233.
  6. ^ Swenson, J. (Editor) (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 170. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.