SONNY ROLLINS

Hard Bop / Post Bop / Fusion / Jazz Related Soundtracks / Avant-Garde Jazz / Soul Jazz / Funk Jazz / Bossa Nova • United States
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Sonny Rollins (Theodore Walter Rollins, New York City, September 7, 1930) is an American jazz tenor saxophonist. Rollins' long, prolific career began at the age of 11, and he was playing with piano legend Thelonious Monk before reaching the age of 20. Rollins is still touring and recording today, having outlived most of his contemporaries such as John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Max Roach, and Art Blakey, all performers with whom he recorded.

While Rollins was born in New York City, his parents were born in the United States Virgin Islands. Rollins received his first saxophone at age 13.

Rollins started as a pianist, changed to alto saxophone, and finally switched to tenor in 1946. During his high-school years, he played in a band with other future jazz legends Jackie McLean and Kenny Drew. He was first recorded in 1949 with Babs Gonzales – in the same year he recorded
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Saxophone Colossus [Vinyl]Saxophone Colossus [Vinyl]
Original Jazz Classics 2011
$11.99
$9.60 (used)
Prestige YearsPrestige Years
Enlightenment 2015
$11.38
$11.37 (used)
Complete Blue Note Riverside & Contemporary CollectionComplete Blue Note Riverside & Contemporary Collection
Box set
Enlightenment 2017
$9.67
Road Shows, Vol. 2Road Shows, Vol. 2
EmArcy / Doxie 2011
$12.02
$4.60 (used)
Plus Four [LP]Plus Four [LP]
Original Jazz Classics 2014
$16.00
$21.52 (used)
Way Out West (Original Jazz Classics Remasters)Way Out West (Original Jazz Classics Remasters)
Remastered
Original Jazz Classics 2010
$5.81
$4.89 (used)
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SONNY ROLLINS Discography

SONNY ROLLINS albums / top albums

SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins Quartet album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sonny Rollins Quartet
Hard Bop 1952
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins All Stars (aka Sonny Rollins Quintet) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sonny Rollins All Stars (aka Sonny Rollins Quintet)
Hard Bop 1954
SONNY ROLLINS Rollins Plays for Bird album cover 4.00 | 4 ratings
Rollins Plays for Bird
Post Bop 1956
SONNY ROLLINS Worktime album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Worktime
Hard Bop 1956
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins With the Modern Jazz Quartet (aka Sonny & The Stars aka First Recordings!) album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Sonny Rollins With the Modern Jazz Quartet (aka Sonny & The Stars aka First Recordings!)
Hard Bop 1956
SONNY ROLLINS Plus 4 (aka 3 Giants!) album cover 3.96 | 4 ratings
Plus 4 (aka 3 Giants!)
Hard Bop 1956
SONNY ROLLINS Tenor Madness album cover 4.00 | 9 ratings
Tenor Madness
Hard Bop 1956
SONNY ROLLINS Moving Out (aka Jazz Classics) album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Moving Out (aka Jazz Classics)
Hard Bop 1956
SONNY ROLLINS Saxophone Colossus album cover 4.44 | 27 ratings
Saxophone Colossus
Hard Bop 1956
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins Plays (aka Sonny Rollins aka Jazz & Blues, Vol. 16) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sonny Rollins Plays (aka Sonny Rollins aka Jazz & Blues, Vol. 16)
Hard Bop 1957
SONNY ROLLINS The Sound of Sonny album cover 4.04 | 4 ratings
The Sound of Sonny
Hard Bop 1957
SONNY ROLLINS Way Out West album cover 4.45 | 9 ratings
Way Out West
Hard Bop 1957
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins Volume 1 album cover 4.50 | 2 ratings
Sonny Rollins Volume 1
Hard Bop 1957
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins, Volume 2 album cover 3.92 | 6 ratings
Sonny Rollins, Volume 2
Post Bop 1957
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins and the Contemporary Leaders album cover 4.17 | 3 ratings
Sonny Rollins and the Contemporary Leaders
Hard Bop 1958
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins Quartet With Earl Coleman ‎: Tour De Force album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sonny Rollins Quartet With Earl Coleman ‎: Tour De Force
Hard Bop 1958
SONNY ROLLINS Newk's Time album cover 4.40 | 6 ratings
Newk's Time
Post Bop 1958
SONNY ROLLINS Freedom Suite album cover 3.92 | 6 ratings
Freedom Suite
Post Bop 1958
SONNY ROLLINS Tour De Force album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Tour De Force
Hard Bop 1958
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins and the Big Brass (aka Brass/Trio) album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Sonny Rollins and the Big Brass (aka Brass/Trio)
Post Bop 1958
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Boy album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sonny Boy
Hard Bop 1961
SONNY ROLLINS The Bridge album cover 4.80 | 6 ratings
The Bridge
Hard Bop 1962
SONNY ROLLINS What's New? (aka Pure Gold Jazz) album cover 3.90 | 8 ratings
What's New? (aka Pure Gold Jazz)
Bossa Nova 1962
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Meets Hawk! album cover 3.69 | 7 ratings
Sonny Meets Hawk!
Hard Bop 1963
SONNY ROLLINS Now's the Time! album cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
Now's the Time!
Post Bop 1964
SONNY ROLLINS The Standard Sonny Rollins album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Standard Sonny Rollins
Post Bop 1965
SONNY ROLLINS On Impulse! album cover 4.17 | 6 ratings
On Impulse!
Post Bop 1965
SONNY ROLLINS East Broadway Run Down album cover 4.43 | 7 ratings
East Broadway Run Down
Avant-Garde Jazz 1966
SONNY ROLLINS Alfie album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Alfie
Jazz Related Soundtracks 1966
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins (aka  Sonny Rollins Plays aka Double Mint Jazz aka Like Someone In Love aka Jazz & Blues, Vol. 16 aka First Recordings 1957) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sonny Rollins (aka Sonny Rollins Plays aka Double Mint Jazz aka Like Someone In Love aka Jazz & Blues, Vol. 16 aka First Recordings 1957)
Hard Bop 1968
SONNY ROLLINS Sorry Rollins With The Modern Jazz Quartet album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sorry Rollins With The Modern Jazz Quartet
Hard Bop 1972
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins' Next Album album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
Sonny Rollins' Next Album
Post Bop 1972
SONNY ROLLINS Horn Culture album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Horn Culture
Hard Bop 1973
SONNY ROLLINS Nucleus album cover 2.50 | 2 ratings
Nucleus
Post Bop 1975
SONNY ROLLINS The Way I Feel album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Way I Feel
Funk Jazz 1976
SONNY ROLLINS Easy Living album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Easy Living
Fusion 1977
SONNY ROLLINS Don't Ask album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Don't Ask
Fusion 1979
SONNY ROLLINS Love at First Sight album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Love at First Sight
Fusion 1980
SONNY ROLLINS 0.00 | 0 ratings
"The Alternative Rollins" (aka After The Bridge)
Hard Bop 1981
SONNY ROLLINS Reel Life album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Reel Life
Post Bop 1982
SONNY ROLLINS No Problem album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
No Problem
Soul Jazz 1982
SONNY ROLLINS Sunny Days, Starry Nights album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Sunny Days, Starry Nights
Post Bop 1984
SONNY ROLLINS Contemporary Alternate Takes album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Contemporary Alternate Takes
Hard Bop 1986
SONNY ROLLINS Dancing in the Dark album cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Dancing in the Dark
Post Bop 1987
SONNY ROLLINS Falling In Love With Jazz album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Falling In Love With Jazz
Post Bop 1989
SONNY ROLLINS Aix En Provence 1959 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Aix En Provence 1959
Hard Bop 1989
SONNY ROLLINS Here's To The People album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Here's To The People
Post Bop 1991
SONNY ROLLINS Old Flames album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Old Flames
Post Bop 1993
SONNY ROLLINS + 3 album cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
+ 3
Hard Bop 1996
SONNY ROLLINS Global Warming album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Global Warming
Hard Bop 1998
SONNY ROLLINS This Is What I Do album cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
This Is What I Do
Post Bop 2000
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Please album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
Sonny Please
Post Bop 2006

SONNY ROLLINS EPs & splits

SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins Quintet, Thad Jones Ensemble , Zoot Sims Quartet ‎: Hot - Cool Modern album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sonny Rollins Quintet, Thad Jones Ensemble , Zoot Sims Quartet ‎: Hot - Cool Modern
Hard Bop 1956
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins / Teddy Edwards With Joe Castro ‎: At Music Inn / At Falcon's Lair album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sonny Rollins / Teddy Edwards With Joe Castro ‎: At Music Inn / At Falcon's Lair
Hard Bop 1958

SONNY ROLLINS live albums

SONNY ROLLINS A Night at the Village Vanguard album cover 4.50 | 6 ratings
A Night at the Village Vanguard
Post Bop 1957
SONNY ROLLINS Our Man in Jazz album cover 4.17 | 3 ratings
Our Man in Jazz
Post Bop 1963
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins in Japan album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Sonny Rollins in Japan
Fusion 1973
SONNY ROLLINS The Cutting Edge album cover 3.54 | 3 ratings
The Cutting Edge
Post Bop 1974
SONNY ROLLINS More From the Vanguard album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
More From the Vanguard
Hard Bop 1975
SONNY ROLLINS Island Lady album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Island Lady
Post Bop 1977
SONNY ROLLINS There Will Never Be Another You album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
There Will Never Be Another You
Hard Bop 1978
SONNY ROLLINS Don't Stop the Carnival album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Don't Stop the Carnival
Post Bop 1978
SONNY ROLLINS Live In Europe album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live In Europe
Post Bop 1982
SONNY ROLLINS St Thomas - Sonny Rollins Trio In Stockholm 1959 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
St Thomas - Sonny Rollins Trio In Stockholm 1959
Post Bop 1984
SONNY ROLLINS The Solo Album album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Solo Album
Avant-Garde Jazz 1985
SONNY ROLLINS In Paris album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
In Paris
Post Bop 1985
SONNY ROLLINS G-Man album cover 3.98 | 3 ratings
G-Man
Jazz Related Soundtracks 1987
SONNY ROLLINS First Moves album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
First Moves
Hard Bop 1994
SONNY ROLLINS Oleo [Live In Europe 1959] album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Oleo [Live In Europe 1959]
Hard Bop 1994
SONNY ROLLINS Without a Song: The 9/11 Concert album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Without a Song: The 9/11 Concert
Hard Bop 2005
SONNY ROLLINS Road Shows: Vol. 1 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Road Shows: Vol. 1
Hard Bop 2008
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins Quintet : Tokyo 1963 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sonny Rollins Quintet : Tokyo 1963
Hard Bop 2008
SONNY ROLLINS The Montreal Concert 1982 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Montreal Concert 1982
Hard Bop 2009
SONNY ROLLINS 80th Birthday Celebration album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
80th Birthday Celebration
Post Bop 2010
SONNY ROLLINS Road Shows, Vol. 2 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Road Shows, Vol. 2
Post Bop 2011
SONNY ROLLINS Road Shows, Vol. 3 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Road Shows, Vol. 3
Hard Bop 2014
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins Quartet With Don Cherry : Complete Live At The Village Gate 1962 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sonny Rollins Quartet With Don Cherry : Complete Live At The Village Gate 1962
Post Bop 2015
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins, Coleman Hawkins ‎: Together At Newport 1963 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sonny Rollins, Coleman Hawkins ‎: Together At Newport 1963
Hard Bop 2015
SONNY ROLLINS Holding the Stage (Road Shows, Vol. 4) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Holding the Stage (Road Shows, Vol. 4)
Hard Bop 2016
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins Trio & Horace Silver Quintet : Zurich 1959 - Swiss Radio Days Vol 40 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sonny Rollins Trio & Horace Silver Quintet : Zurich 1959 - Swiss Radio Days Vol 40
Hard Bop 2016

SONNY ROLLINS demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

SONNY ROLLINS re-issues & compilations

SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins and Thelonious Monk album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sonny Rollins and Thelonious Monk
Hard Bop 1955
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny's Time album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sonny's Time
Hard Bop 1962
SONNY ROLLINS Blow! album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Blow!
Hard Bop 1965
SONNY ROLLINS Rollins album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Rollins
Hard Bop 1972
SONNY ROLLINS The Freedom Suite Plus album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Freedom Suite Plus
Hard Bop 1973
SONNY ROLLINS Saxophone Colossus And More album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Saxophone Colossus And More
Hard Bop 1975
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins - The Blue Note Reissue Series album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sonny Rollins - The Blue Note Reissue Series
Hard Bop 1975
SONNY ROLLINS Horn album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Horn
Post Bop 1977
SONNY ROLLINS Taking Care Of Business album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Taking Care Of Business
Hard Bop 1978
SONNY ROLLINS Masters Of Jazz Vol.14 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Masters Of Jazz Vol.14
Hard Bop 1979
SONNY ROLLINS The Quartets (feat. Jim Hall) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Quartets (feat. Jim Hall)
Post Bop 1986
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins & Thad Jones : Quintet & Sextet album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sonny Rollins & Thad Jones : Quintet & Sextet
Hard Bop 1988
SONNY ROLLINS The Best of Sonny Rollins: The Blue Note Years album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of Sonny Rollins: The Blue Note Years
Post Bop 1989
SONNY ROLLINS All The Things You Are (1963-1964) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
All The Things You Are (1963-1964)
Hard Bop 1990
SONNY ROLLINS 1956-1958 The Freedom Suite album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
1956-1958 The Freedom Suite
Hard Bop 1991
SONNY ROLLINS Alternatives album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Alternatives
Post Bop 1992
SONNY ROLLINS The Complete Prestige Recordings album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Complete Prestige Recordings
Post Bop 1992
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins & Co. 1964 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sonny Rollins & Co. 1964
Post Bop 1995
SONNY ROLLINS Silver City: A Celebration of 25 Years on Milestone album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Silver City: A Celebration of 25 Years on Milestone
Post Bop 1996
SONNY ROLLINS Rollins 'Round Midnight album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Rollins 'Round Midnight
Post Bop 1996
SONNY ROLLINS The Complete RCA Victor Recordings album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
The Complete RCA Victor Recordings
Post Bop 1997
SONNY ROLLINS Ken Burns Jazz: Definitive Sonny Rollins album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Ken Burns Jazz: Definitive Sonny Rollins
Post Bop 2000
SONNY ROLLINS The Essential Sonny Rollins album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Essential Sonny Rollins
Post Bop 2000
SONNY ROLLINS The Freelance Years: The Complete Riverside & Contemporary Recordings album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Freelance Years: The Complete Riverside & Contemporary Recordings
Post Bop 2000
SONNY ROLLINS The Best of the Complete RCA Victor Recordings album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of the Complete RCA Victor Recordings
Post Bop 2000
SONNY ROLLINS 100 ans de jazz album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
100 ans de jazz
Post Bop 2000
SONNY ROLLINS Complete Capitol,Savoy And Blue Note Feature Recordings album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Complete Capitol,Savoy And Blue Note Feature Recordings
Hard Bop 2001
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins Ballads album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sonny Rollins Ballads
Post Bop 2002
SONNY ROLLINS The Essential, The RCA Years album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Essential, The RCA Years
Post Bop 2005
SONNY ROLLINS Prestige Profiles: Sonny Rollins album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Prestige Profiles: Sonny Rollins
Post Bop 2005
SONNY ROLLINS Solid album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Solid
Hard Bop 2005
SONNY ROLLINS The Impulse Story album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Impulse Story
Post Bop 2006
SONNY ROLLINS Saxophone Colossus & Work Time album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Saxophone Colossus & Work Time
Post Bop 2007
SONNY ROLLINS Scoops album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Scoops
Post Bop 2007
SONNY ROLLINS Trio & Quartet (Paris 1965-Copenhagen 1968) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Trio & Quartet (Paris 1965-Copenhagen 1968)
Hard Bop 2008
SONNY ROLLINS Four Classic Albums album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Four Classic Albums
Hard Bop 2009
SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins / Don Cherry Quartet - The Complete 1963 Copenhagen Concert album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sonny Rollins / Don Cherry Quartet - The Complete 1963 Copenhagen Concert
Hard Bop 2009
SONNY ROLLINS The Definitive Sonny Rollins On Prestige, Riverside, And Contemporary album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Definitive Sonny Rollins On Prestige, Riverside, And Contemporary
Hard Bop 2010
SONNY ROLLINS On Impulse / There Will Never Be Another You album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
On Impulse / There Will Never Be Another You
Post Bop 2011
SONNY ROLLINS Jazz At Cafe Bohemia Vol. 1 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Jazz At Cafe Bohemia Vol. 1
Hard Bop 2013
SONNY ROLLINS The Complete Blue Note Riverside & Contemporary Collection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Complete Blue Note Riverside & Contemporary Collection
Hard Bop 2016
SONNY ROLLINS 5 Original Albums album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
5 Original Albums
Hard Bop 2016
SONNY ROLLINS The Complete Blue Note, Riverside & Contemporary Collections album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Complete Blue Note, Riverside & Contemporary Collections
Hard Bop 2017

SONNY ROLLINS singles (0)

SONNY ROLLINS movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sonny Rollins / Ben Webster Live At Laren / Big Ben In Europe
Hard Bop 2005

SONNY ROLLINS Reviews

SONNY ROLLINS Saxophone Colossus

Album · 1956 · Hard Bop
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
To clarify the confusion of this album that seems to have different info with every source i encounter, it was recorded on 22 June 1956 and released in April 1957 and the excellent Rudy Van Gelder remaster finding its way onto the market in 2005. SAXOPHONE COLOSSUS is without a doubt the most revered album released by SONNY ROLLINS with the leading track “St. Thomas” being one of the most celebrated jazz standards of not only the 50s hard bop scene but of all jazz history. Although the track was a traditional calypso number, SONNY literally jazzed it up to make a classic of the ages.

This album finds many a jazz veteran lending a hand and an ear to the process. SONNY ROLLINS, of course, is the star here with his masterful melodic tenor saxophone, but we also get Tommy Flanagan on piano, Doug Watkins on bass and the inimitable Max Roach handling drum duties. By definition, hard bop incorporates everything from R&B and gospel music to the blues and beyond and this album is a great example of these mixings and commingling of styles.

The saxophone and piano are obvious contenders here but the beauty of this album is how well every musician on board weaves his magic around the cohesive whole. While jazz ballads can be a point of contention in my world, i must admit that “You Don’t Know What Love Is” comes across as a tender yet intricately beautiful piece of work that straddles the pop world’s sensibilities while keeping the jazzy touches as the dominant feature.

This is music well before my time but it has a sense of timelessness to it. I was particularly surprised to hear “Moritat” which is a jazz interpretation of a song composed by Kurt Weil originally titled “Mack The Knife” or in German “Die Moritat von Mackie Messer” which was in The Threepenny Opera which originated at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm in Berlin in 1928. While the original had lyrics and was a product of its time SONNY deftly tackles the vocal parts on his sizzling sax and retains the spirit of the original without sacrificing the hard bop sensibilities of the time of release.

“Blue” which is a ROLLINS written original is another satisfying track. It delivers all the beauty of a blues standard with all the jazz touches as the icing on the cake. Somehow these four guys keep the whole thing sounding like a blues song even when they break into clear jazz territory of syncopated drum solos and the like. Very impressive.

This was a grower indeed. While feeling underwhelmed upon first encounter i have really grown to like SAXOPHONE COLOSSUS a lot and understand the hype behind its majesty. While not fluent in ROLLINS’ massive discography, i as an abecedarian of his music, can gleefully advocate recommending this album as the perfect introduction into his hard bop and beyond universe. While it’s true that in the 50s jazz appears a little incestuous with every musician at one time playing on someone else’s albums just like marriages in a TV soap opera, on this particular occasion the stars aligned for all involved and a veritable masterpiece was born.

SONNY ROLLINS What's New? (aka Pure Gold Jazz)

Album · 1962 · Bossa Nova
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Amilisom
What's new with Sonny Rollins? Apparently bossa nova. It was certainly the new thing back in '62, and Rollins decided to have a shot at it.

This album is a unique find. Being possibly Sonny Rollins' only bossa nova album in its entirety, here he experiments with new sounds and colors. You can tell when listening that Sonny Rollins does everything except approach the bossa nova style carefully. At times his improvisations become playfully outlandish, especially on tracks like "Jungoso" or "Bluesongo" when the space is very free and open. In other moments, he even disregards the feel and swings his eighth notes.

The album begins with a 12 minute bossa nova jam titled "If Ever I Would Leave You". Establishing a clear bossa nova feel, this track is one of the more "down-to-earth" tracks on this album where Rollins solos with melodic licks and doesn't make sounds as strange as the tracks that follow.

"Jungoso" begins with a percussionist playing on a drum with his hands. Rollins freely and tonally improvises over this, even by putting growl into his sound and bending notes. He continues this when the bass player comes in with a repetitive, modal groove that establishes the background. The effect sounds pretty good, but can be slightly unsettling when he gets a little too carried away with his growl sounds.

The next track, "Bluesongo" is similar to the previous track but has a walking bass line that gives it a touch of blues and swung eighths.

"The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" is similar to the first track of the album, in which the guitar and drum set establish a bossa nova feel and Rollins avoids growling.

The last track, "Brown Skin Gal", actually features a group of people singing the melody. The feel made by the percussion creates more of a calypso or caribbean feel.

In its entirety, this album isn't completely bossa nova, despite what it says on the cover. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th tracks seem to lend themselves slightly more to other South American sub-genres rather than bossa nova. Of the tracks that are bossa nova, Sonny Rollins doesn't have a tone that meshes well with the cool, laid-back feel. Instead, his tone comes across more as fat and aggressive here than is necessary.

Despite this, this album creates a sound of its own that is worth looking into for either Sonny Rollins or latin/bossa nova listeners. For that I give it 7/10.



SONNY ROLLINS Horn Culture

Album · 1973 · Hard Bop
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Matt
Sonny Rollins must have liked hearing Billy Holiday with two of her absolute classic numbers included and a composition he composed himself which has no familarity with Billy Holiday's classic "Loverman" but the title "Love Man" sandwiched in between the two Billy Holiday numbers does make one think. Anyway recorded in 1973 and this album "Horn Culture" is Sonny's second album after his last absence from the Jazz scene in the late sixties and early seventies doing yoga and the Eastern thing but he sure came back vibrant and as usual he played beautifully with this album being no exception. Many of his albums from this period in the seventies are not as highly regarded as his classics from the fifties and sixties but if one maintained that thought you would miss out on some absolute fantastic Jazz which is what Sonny has played from day one when he arrived on the scene all those years back in the early fifties. Walter Davis Jr. is on piano, Masuao, guitar, Bob Cranshaw, electric bass, David Lee, drums and Mtume percussion with some slight changes at times throughout by three of the band members on their usual instruments. One thing it is great to see the album cover mentions that there are over-dubs used and "honesty is the best policy" with Sonny's sax being where but it is done very well as it applied only sparingly. Bit of a mixture of styles contained within bringing a great variety to the album with Post and Hard Bop, touch of Funk and the composition "Sais" could have fitted nicely on to a Jazz Fusion album with the use of the electric, accoustic piano combined and Masuo's electric guitar added. One thing Sonny has the lions share and his glorious horn is all over the album which is precisely why one listens to Sonny Rollins and although things seem to have changed within the music his horn has not belting out some absolute gloriously linked Bop based solos.

"Pictures In The Reflection Of A Golden Horn" and I wonder whose? but this is the album commmencement and things start of with a nice Soul feel from Sonny and the band but it is not long before the intensity picks up and Sonny keeps just blowing harder on this wonderful album starter which is one of the three compositions by Sonny included for the album. The next one though is written by the percussion player Mtume being "Sais" and is the longest track on the album going for just under twelve minutes and one of the most striking with Mtume playing basically a constant repitition of piano chords with a solo included instead of percussion and Walter Davis Jr is playing the keyboard bringing that underlay with Bob Cranshaw's electric bass on this just below mid tempo composition. Sonny Rollins puts a beautiful solo on soprano and tenor with it gradual intensity increase with Masuo following him on electric guitar and I do find this reminscent of a Wayne Shorter style composition with its own distinct structure and perhaps one of the best tracks on the album. "Notes For Eddie" is another Sonny composition and Sonny is his usual great self with the drum and percussion mix giving the song a great feel and another great stabber of a guitar solo from Masuo within. Billy Holiday gets the Rollins treatment first up on Side B with her absolute classic ballad "God Bless The Child" being played beautifully with a slight jaunt to open the number and Sonny pretty much keeps too the tune with Masuo back on guitar and Walter finally getting his chance on piano within this beautiful version. "Love Man" is side two's variety with its up-tempo approach with a little funk thrown in which just rips along and of course Sonny is good. The album closer is another Billy Holiday classic "Good Morning Heartache" and the other ballad on the album and it is played as all the other numbers within the album are, at a great high standard but it is Sonny near the end when he plays the song unaccompanied which he would do more frequently in the future to come after this album and I for one just love it.

Think outside the box with this one and although I would be the first to say the Sonny's albums from that classic late fifties to early sixties are his best there is nothing wrong with this and we should all be grateful that he did change bringing this other variety to his music which he still uses today in concert with Bob Cranshaw playing his electric and a percussion player in his current band in 2011. Once again, "it is just that Sonny Rollins magic".

SONNY ROLLINS The Cutting Edge

Live album · 1974 · Post Bop
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Sean Trane
After the steaming Horn Culture, one could’ve hoped this “Live in Montreux” album to have the same kind of Cutting Edge, but it’s surprisingly lower key than one would expect, despite featuring a similar line-up, consisting of Mtume, Lee, Masuo, Cranshaw and Cowell. Actually, the concert set was a mixed bag of oldie-trad jazz pieces, laced in with some rather inventive fusion numbers. Apparently (according to producer Orrin Keepnews) the mix had the crowd demanding three encores and not letting Sonny & The Gang hit the bed until the middle of the night.

The opening title track features an odd mix of funk-fusion with clunky ethnic jazz, but the resulting music is rather interesting fusion, where Rollins’ sax reigns king. The following Wild Rose is an oldie-sounding (it’s a cover) slow middle-of-the-night piece that could serve as a lullaby to most kids. A much more enthralling First Move returns to a modern funky fusion, with much energy and hinting slightly at the previous Horn Culture album. Indeed the deep funky groove allows plenty of room for Rollins to pack up the crowd and airmail them to Evian, on the other Geneva lake shore.

On the flipside, the mellow cover of House Is Not A Home is a rather un-daring standardy-jazz affair that could’ve been played a decade sooner for more pertinence. The real surprise of the album is with the closing (but centrepiece) almost 15-mins Sweet Chariot track, where guest Rufus Harley brings out bagpipes (yes, believe it!!!) and blows a different Mull Of Kintyre tune. Of course the opening solo lines blends-in rather fine with Rollins’ sax, and both engage in a sort of call & response, before the others engages hostilities and turn things into a strange funky fusion. A rather uneven and schizophrenic live album, one that is not able to make up its mind between trad or modern, even if the fusion weighs heavier in the overall balance.

SONNY ROLLINS Sonny Rollins' Next Album

Album · 1972 · Post Bop
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Sean Trane
Apparently the album to celebrate a return of Rollins in the studio, Next Album was recorded over the summer of 72, produced by Keepnews and released on the Milestones label and it is a mixed bag, with the A-side being electric and funky-fusiony while the flipside is much more traditional. Indeed, his pianist plays electric and the line-up features two drummers and a percussionist of a selection of tracks, mainly in the opening Playin’ in the Yard, even if the following Poinciena still bears a certain boppy aura. The band features Gables on keys (el or ac), Cranshaw on bass, Lee on drums (with the assistance of DeJohnette on two tracks) and Jenkins on Latin percs. As you can see this is mainly the same line-up for the next few albums to come.

Of course, on the flipside, you’ll rightly expect Everywhere Calypso to feature these Latin percussions, which is personally not my cup of tea. The shorter Keep Hold of Yourself has an hard-bop feel, despite an interesting few opening Rollins lines, while the closing Skylark is definitely a standard early 60’s tune, without much interest, especially some ten years later. Rollins is often hailed as an avant-gardist sax tooter, but it is not with albums like the present that he broke much ground (or anything else for that matter), and if this had been called Previous Album, it might have sounded more actual ten years sooner. Of course matters would change with the upcoming much more adventurous Horn Culture.

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