The Bridge (Sonny Rollins album)

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The Bridge
The Bridge Sonny Rollins.jpg
Studio album by Sonny Rollins
Released 1962
Recorded January 30 and February 13-14, 1962
RCA-Victor Studio B, New York City
Genre Jazz, hard bop
Length 40:36
Label RCA-Victor
Producer Bob Prince
Sonny Rollins chronology
Sonny Rollins and the Contemporary Leaders
The Bridge
What's New?
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Down Beat 5/5 stars[1]
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide 4/5 stars[3]

The Bridge is a studio album by jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins, recorded in 1962.[4] It was Rollins' first release following a three-year sabbatical and was his first recording for Bluebird/RCA Victor.[5] The saxophonist was joined by the musicians with whom he recorded for the next segment of his career: Jim Hall on guitar, Bob Cranshaw on double bass and Ben Riley on drums.[6]


In 1959, feeling pressured by the unexpected swiftness of his rise to fame, Rollins took a three-year hiatus to focus on perfecting his craft.[7] A resident of the Lower East Side of Manhattan with no private space to practice, he took his saxophone up to the Williamsburg Bridge to practice alone: "I would be up there 15 or 16 hours at a time spring, summer, fall and winter".[8] His first recording after his return to performance took its name from those solo sessions.[7] Critical reception to the album, which was not the revolutionary new jazz approach many expected, was mixed.[9] Rollins, who had been considered groundbreaking in his thematic improvisations, was supplanted in critical buzz by the growing popularity of Ornette Coleman's free jazz.[10]


If not a tremendous departure from Rollins' earlier style, the album was nevertheless quite successful.[11] Tagged by AllMusic as "a near-classic",[11] the recording was declared by Inkblot Magazine to be "one of the greatest albums from one of jazz's greatest musicians".[9] It is one of the albums for which the long-active and prolific Rollins receives his greatest praise.[12]

The album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2015.[13]


The album was re-released in 1976 in Japan and 1977 in the U.S., and since the 1992 relaunch on CD by Bluebird/RCA/BMG it has been issued many times in various formats, e.g. as audiophile LP with 45 rpm (Classic Records, 2000).[14] It is also part of the The Complete RCA Victor Recordings (1997).[15]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Without a Song" (Edward Eliscu, Billy Rose, Vincent Youmans) – 7:28
  2. "Where Are You?" (Harold Adamson, Jimmy McHugh) – 5:10
  3. "John S." (Sonny Rollins) – 7:43
  4. "The Bridge" (Rollins) – 6:00
  5. "God Bless the Child" (Arthur Herzog Jr., Billie Holiday) – 7:27
  6. "You Do Something to Me" (Cole Porter) – 6:48



"God Bless the Child" recorded on January 30, 1962
"Where Are You?", "John S." and "You Do Something to Me" recorded on February 13,
"Without a Song" and "The Bridge" on February 14, 1962


Production of the first CD Reissue, 1992[edit]

  • John Snyder – digital producer
  • Steve Backer – executive producer
  • Joe Lopes and Jay Newland – engineers
  • Ira Gitler – liner notes (in addition to the original text by Avakian)


  1. ^ Down Beat:July 5, 1962 Vol. 29, No.14
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ Swenson, J. (Editor) (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 170. ISBN 0-394-72643-X. 
  4. ^ Sonny Rollins discography at AllMusic
  5. ^ Sonny Rollins biography at AllMusic
  6. ^ The named Sonny Rollins Quartet performing "God Bless the Child" on a unidentified tv broadcast in 1962 on YouTube
  7. ^ a b Biography Sonny Rollins official website. Accessed October 20, 2007.
  8. ^ Citation according to the faq-section of his own website Accessed September 7, 2012.
  9. ^ a b Greilsamer, Marc. Sonny Rollins: The Bridge Inkblot Magazine. Accessed October 20, 2007.
  10. ^ Yaffe, David (October 4, 2007). Spirit Chaser. The Nation. Accessed October 20, 2007.
  11. ^ a b The Bridge review at AllMusic
  12. ^ Marchese, David (August 26, 2005). A colossus nears the end of the road Pop Matters. Accessed November 16, 2014.
  13. ^ "Grammy Hall of Fame". Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  14. ^ Various releases of The Bridge at Discogs (list of releases)
  15. ^ Sonny Rollins - The Complete RCA Victor Recordings at AllMusic. Retrieved September 7, 2012.