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Sonny Rollins

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22.06.2004

Advantages:
Possibly the best tenor saxophonist ever  -  without a doubt the best still alive !

Disadvantages:
None  -  if you want to see him live, you should try to soon  -  he's getting on a bit now  -  73 yrs old now  -  still as good as ever though !

Recommendable Yes:

7 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
very helpful by (67%):
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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).

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feeble_albatross 22.06.2004 15:46

The pictures just made the review even better. Olivia :)

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Analogue Productions Tenor Madness Sonny Rollins

Analogue Productions Tenor Madness Sonny Rollins

Tenor Madness was the recording that, once and for all, established Rollins as one of the ... more

premier tenor saxophonists, an accolade that in
retrospect, has continued through six full decades
and gives an indication why as a young player,
Rollins was so well liked, as his fluency,
whimsical nature, and solid construct of melodies
and solos gave him the title of the next Coleman
Hawkins or Lester Young of mainstream jazz. Tenor
Madness, using Miles Davis' group - pianist Red
Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly
Joe Jones, is the only recording of Rollins with
John Coltrane, who was also in Davis' group.
Rollins and John Coltrane met in 1956 and went on
to largely define the state of jazz tenor
saxophone in the mid-Fifties. Their playing set a
standard that has been a benchmark of excellence
for saxophonists-and others-ever since. By the
time this LP was released, Rollins already had
such albums to his name as Worktime and Sonny
Rollins Plus 4 in addition to his sideman exploits
with the Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet. As well
as the celebrated title track, Tenor Madness
includes an intriguing original, "Paul's Pal," and
the mining of unusual material such as "My
Reverie," and "The Most Beautiful Girl in the
World." Originally released in 1956

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Analogue Productions Rollins Plays for Bird Sonny Rollins

Analogue Productions Rollins Plays for Bird Sonny Rollins

As the tenor sax is not in the same key as an alto, Sonny Rollins would have to transpose ... more

a lot of music to take a tribute to Charlie Parker
to a high level. Instead Rollins has chosen
standards associated with Parker, and recorded
them within a year after Bird's passing. The music
certainly has its moments, as on the inexhaustible
27-minute medley of seven tunes seamlessly
stitched together. Rollins plays the melody on
alternating songs "I Remember You" and "They Can't
Take That Away from Me," Kenny Dorham has at it
for "My Melancholy Baby" and "Just Friends," with
Wade Legge getting his two cents in on trio only
versions of "Old Folks" and "My Little Suede
Shoes." Finally the whole band joins in on the
ten-minute medley finale "Star Eyes." Two
independent selections accompany the medley:
Rollins does the ballad "I've Grown Accustomed to
Your (Her) Face," from the musical "My Fair Lady"
and the horns finally play together for the nearly
12-minute cool waltz "Kids Know." Originally
released in 1956. 1. Medley: I Remember You, My
Melancholy Baby, Old Folks, They Can't Take That
Away From Me, Just Friends, My Little Suede Shoes
& Star Eyes 2. Kids Know 3. I've Grown Accustomed
to Your Face

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Review Ratings »

This review of Sonny Rollins has been rated:

"very helpful" by (67%):

  1. nubbler
  2. Jonoj
  3. MAFARRIMOND

and 7 other members

"helpful" by (33%):

  1. MHam
  2. Silverback
  3. jillmurphy

and 2 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.