Why We Picked This
Andrew Winistorfer: Sonny Rollins is obviously one of the five biggest jazz saxophonists ever. He’s made a bunch of incredible classic jazz records: from The Bridge on, he’s been a legend… played with Coltrane, all kinda things. This record came to my attention a couple years ago when JazzTimes wrote a list of the best protest jazz albums, and they forgot to include this Sonny Rollins record, Freedom Suite. Rollins got mad enough to write the Jazz Times a Letter to the Editor to tell them they forgot it. This is one of the first jazz albums to really wrestle with Civil Rights; it was explicitly meant to represent the Civil Rights struggle.
This record sorta fell through the cracks of history because, ultimately, everyone in jazz sort of made their answer for the Civil Rights movement. There’s even another album called Freedom Suite by Max Roach. So, this idea really takes off, and Sonny Rollins hasn’t really gotten the credit for being one of the first to really try to tackle that with an instrumental jazz album. It’s an opportunity for us to reissue this classic jazz record that deserves to be heard, which is what we’re trying to do with Classics.
Like all Classics records, this is on 180-gram black vinyl, and comes with new liner notes by Andy Beta, that coincidentally start with Sonny’s letter to JazzTimes.