The Bridge (Sonny Rollins album)

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The Bridge
The Bridge Sonny Rollins.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 1962[1]
RecordedJanuary 30 and February 13–14, 1962
StudioRCA Victor Studio B, New York City
GenreJazz, hard bop
LabelRCA Victor LPM-2527
ProducerBob Prince
Sonny Rollins chronology
Sonny Rollins and the Contemporary Leaders
The Bridge
What's New?
Professional ratings
Review scores
Down Beat[2]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide[4]
The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings[5]

The Bridge is a studio album by jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins, recorded in 1962.[6] It was Rollins' first release following a three-year sabbatical and was his first album for RCA Victor.[7] 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.[8]


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.[9] A resident of the Lower East Side of Manhattan with no private space to practice, he took his saxophone up to the Williamsburg Bridge (not the brooklyn bridge as depicted on the cd reissue cover) to practice alone: "I would be up there 15 or 16 hours at a time spring, summer, fall and winter".[10] His first recording after his return to performance took its name from those solo sessions.[9] Critical reception to the album, which was not the revolutionary new jazz approach many expected, was mixed.[11] 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.[12]


If not a tremendous departure from Rollins' earlier style, the album was nevertheless quite successful.[13] Tagged by AllMusic as "a near-classic",[13] the recording was declared by Inkblot Magazine to be "one of the greatest albums from one of jazz's greatest musicians".[11] It is one of the albums for which the long-active and prolific Rollins receives his greatest praise.[14]

The album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2015.[15]


The album was re-released in 1976 in Japan and 1977 in the U.S. It was relaunched in 1992 on CD by Bluebird/RCA/BMG and remastered from the original master tapes for CD in 2003 for the Bluebird First Editions series. It has also been issued many times in other formats, for example as an audiophile LP with 45 rpm (Classic Records, 2000).[16] It is also part of The Complete RCA Victor Recordings (1997).[17]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Without a Song" (Edward Eliscu, Billy Rose, Vincent Youmans) – 7:26
  2. "Where Are You?" (Harold Adamson, Jimmy McHugh) – 5:10
  3. "John S." (Sonny Rollins) – 7:46
  4. "The Bridge" (Sonny Rollins) – 5:59
  5. "God Bless the Child" (Arthur Herzog Jr., Billie Holiday) – 7:27
  6. "You Do Something to Me" (Cole Porter) – 6:51



"God Bless the Child" recorded on January 30, 1962
"Where Are You?", "John S." and "You Do Something to Me" recorded on February 13, 1962
"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. ^ "Billboard". April 14, 1962.
  2. ^ Down Beat:July 5, 1962 Vol. 29, No.14
  3. ^ Allmusic review
  4. ^ Swenson, J., ed. (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. pp. 170. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.
  5. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.). Penguin. p. 1234. ISBN 978-0-141-03401-0.
  6. ^ Sonny Rollins discography at AllMusic
  7. ^ Sonny Rollins biography at AllMusic
  8. ^ The named Sonny Rollins Quartet performing "God Bless the Child" on a unidentified tv broadcast in 1962 on YouTube. Retrieved September 7, 2012
  9. ^ a b Biography Archived 2007-10-11 at the Wayback Machine Sonny Rollins official website. Accessed October 20, 2007.
  10. ^ Citation according to the faq-section of his own website Archived 2013-01-20 at the Wayback Machine Accessed September 7, 2012.
  11. ^ a b Greilsamer, Marc. Sonny Rollins: The Bridge Inkblot Magazine. Accessed October 20, 2007.
  12. ^ Yaffe, David (October 4, 2007). Spirit Chaser. The Nation. Accessed October 20, 2007.
  13. ^ a b The Bridge review at AllMusic
  14. ^ Marchese, David (August 26, 2005). A colossus nears the end of the road Pop Matters. Accessed November 16, 2014.
  15. ^ "Grammy Hall of Fame". Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  16. ^ Various releases of The Bridge at Discogs (list of releases)
  17. ^ Sonny Rollins - The Complete RCA Victor Recordings at AllMusic. Retrieved September 7, 2012.