When the title Moving Out is applied to this album, it bears no reference to leaving one domicile for another but means stepping out into high gear while playing. Those of you who are familiar with Sonny Rollins' playing know that he does a lot of moving out, stepping out (right out of his shoes) and stretching out (extending himself to play interesting parts of the chords).
These are vintage Rollins recordings made in a New York period prior to his year of study and self-evaluation in Chicago. They are from a steadily flowing Sonny who only hinted at future experiments with rhythmic figures and time breaking.
That he has matured and become even more personal is evident in his more recent recordings but it is equally evident in listening to the selections in this LP, gathered from two 1954 sessions, that Sonny's talent did not go begging before 1955.
Four of the selections were recorded on August 18, 1954 and feature trumpeter Kenny Dorham in unison with Sonny. At this writing, the two are re-united in the Max Roach quintet.
The title number, "Movin' Out," [mp3]
is self-explanatory in light of what I mentioned in the first paragraph. Sonny has the first and last solos, sandwiching Kenny and Elmo Hope. In his second solo he indicates what part of the city he is in. Kenny plays some of his typical "running-style" trumpet that really soars and Elmo, whose comping is a strong rhythmic-harmonic factor, plays a hard swinging solo which attests to the excellent form he was in during the general period of these recordings.
"Swingin' for Bumsy" is even faster than "Movin' Out" but suits everyone fine. Sonny, Kenny and Elmo solo with Kenny and Elmo receiving pushoffs. Due to extenuating circumstances, Art Blakey was without his hi-hat cymbals for the entire session but he didn't let this bother him as he demonstrates throughout and in his solo here. Percy Heath is a tower of strength in his supporting role too.
Sonny shows his lyricism clearly in his moving exposition of the simple "Silk 'n' Statin". Elmo has a short solo interlude while Kenny's role consists of background for Sonny's closing section.
The inevitable, necessary, almost manditory and highly nourishing blues makes its appearance in the medium "Solid." The solos by all are in a heart-soul warming groove. After Art rumbles a short bit, Sonny and Kenny recapitulate eloquently in a conversational manner before the theme's reappearance.
"More Than You Know" is from October 25, 1954 and combines a lyric Sonny with the reflective thoughts of the individualistic Thelonious Monk. Tommy Potter introduces Sonny with a short solo. You can feel the heartfelt conviction of Sonny and the sensitive probing of Monk very directly. Welded together they make it a classic ballad performance. Arthur Taylor's discreet brushwork fits and helps create the mood.
--IRA GITLER, from the liner notes