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Sonny Rollins is my favourite tenor saxophonist, and is in my opinion the best saxophonist ever. Sonny has a lovely deep, rich tone, right the way from the bottom of his horn to the top. Like many of the great jazz musicians, Sonny was not only a great player, but also a great composer, having written loads of tunes, including St Thomas, Tenor Madness, Doxy, Oleo, Airegin, to name but a few.
Sonny Rollins has recorded many famous C.D.'s, but perhaps his best two, and my favourite are saxophone colossus and tenor madness (featuring a stunning recording of tenor madness with coltrane and rollins playing together!) Both of these C.D's feature Sonny Rollins in full swing, at the top of his playing, with his classic tone and characteristic phrasing and solo's.
Throughout his life, Sonny Rollins had a chance to play and record with many jazz greats, having already done so with Babs Gonzalez, J.J. Johnson, Bud Powell and Miles Davis before he turned twenty, and also benefitting from having Thelonius Monk as a mentor.
Later in his life, during the mid-sixties, Rollins stopped playing in public and tried to get into religion, and especially eastern religions, spending time in Japan and India, and also spending a lot of time in a monastry. In the 70's however, Sonny resurfaced again and returned to recording and playing again, making his next recording in 1972, and is still going strong.
Recently, I had the chance to see Sonny Rollins playing in a rare appearance at the Barbican in London, and I must say that he was absolutely fantastic. Although he may now look slightly older, his playing is still as good as when he was younger and on those classic recordings of his, if not even better!
I think that all saxophonists should have the chance to see Sonny play, one of the greatest saxophonists ever, and if not, they should at least listen to some of his recordings.
Some CD's to check out are: Saxophone Colossus, Tenor Madness, Way Out West, Thelonius Monk and Sonny Rollins, Sonny Side Up (with Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Stitt).
SONNY ROLLINS Way Out West (80s UK Boplicity issue of the classic 1957 6-track stereo LP ... more
with Ray Brown & Shelly Manne great picture sleeve reproducing the original albums artwork. The sleeve shows just a few faint spots of wear & the vinylstill looks barely played COP006) 1. Im An Old Cowhand2. Solitude3. Come Gone4. Wagon Wheels5. There Is No Greater Love6. Way Out West
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins (70s Japanese 10-track stereo vinyl compilation LP recorded ... more
between 1952 & 1955 featuring Slow Boat To China You Dont Know What Love Is Theres No Business Like Show Business andthe sublime My Reverie. Housed in a superb condition vivid hardcover pasted picture sleeve with Japanese text liner notes insert. Pristine vinyl complete with The Best Artist Series obi-strip LPP-97010) 1. Moritat2. You Dont Know What Love Is3. Theres No Business Like Show Business4. Its All Right With Me5. Slow Boat To China6. Almost Like Being In Love7. In A Sentimental Mood8. When Your Lover Has Gone9. My Reverie10. The Most Beaut
SONNY ROLLINS Jazz Classics (1967 Japanese 5-track stereo LP unique fully silk laminated ... more
scalloped flipback picture sleeve with Japanese sleeve notes on the reverse. Apart from catalogue number stickers on both labels the disc shows little sign of play & the sleeve shows only a few light scuffs with minimal general shelfwear SMJ-7439) Moving OutSwinging For BumsySilk n SatinSolidMore Than You Know