A night divided between Sonny Rollins and John Lewis sounds promising. Rollins and his quartet were to play for the first half of the program. Lewis was to premiere his score for a new Italian film, The Milano Story. For Rollins, the promise was fulfilled successfully. From his opening choruses on Three Little Words, it was obvious that he was going to play with authority and with a penetrating humour which included a self-parody. His masterwork of the evening was a cadenza on “Love Letters”, which had a kind of truly artistic feel that jazz has not heard since the Louis Armstrong of the early 1930s. Lewis' five-part piece was a disappointment. It seemed raw in its scoring, in development of its ideas, and in weird transitions from jazz to quasi-Italian schmaltz and back.
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