Saxophone Colossus

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Sonny Rollins is joined by Tommy Flanagan on piano, Doug Watkins on bass and the drums of the great Max Roach on this, perhaps his finest set from the 50’s – Saxophone Colossus. Here we are introduced to St Thomas, given a killer version of Mack the Knife (titled Moritat) and then Rollin’s rips his classic solo style on the album closer Blue 7.

Enjoy!

Saxophone Colossus
St. Thomas
You Don’t Know What Love Is
Strode Rode
Moritat
Blue 7

Also, check out more sounds of Sonny.

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Maiden Voyage

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In 1965 the keyboard player for the new Miles Davis Quintet, a young Herbie Hancock, released his 5th Blue Note solo album. Constructed around a groove he originally wrote as an advertising jingle to sell men’s cologne, the ambitious Hancock, along with rhythm players Ron Carter on bass and drummer Tony Williams took the experimental style they were having success with in the Miles Davis group on this Maiden Voyage. The album’s five original Hancock tunes have an oceanic theme and beautifully showcase the group’s innovative solo talents. Freddie Hubbard on trumpet and George Coleman on tenor Saxophone round out the Hancock crew on this one. Maiden Voyage is a great set of experimental yet accessible hard bob jazz from the mid sixties.

Take it on a sail. It’s a great trip. Oh yeah!

Maiden Voyage
The Eye of the HurricaneLittle One
Survival of the Fitest
Dolphin Dance

 

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The Sound of Sonny

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In the mid to late 50’s (post Bird era) several great saxophone players emerged from the shadows stepping up to adapt the then popularized style of Bebop into what is now referred to as Hardbop. None has had as much influence or longevity as Tenor Colossus Sonny Rollings. He put out many albums in this period for labels like Prestige, Blue Note and Verve. This un-attachment to any one company, unheard of at that time as most artists were looking for an exclusive contract and the consistent income, allowed Rollings to explore several different genre including the one he pioneered and is best known for the “Smooth Bop” style.

On The Sound of Sonny, released in 1957, the Down Beat “New Star” of the tenor saxophone experiments with alternating personnel, delivering a platter of wonderful, popular tunes including The Last Time I Saw Paris, a beautiful solo version of It Could Happen To You, and the Cole Porter standard Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye. Rollins is supported this time around by Sonny Clark on piano, Roy Haynes on drums and bassists Percy Heath and Paul Chambers.

I’d say grab as many Sonny Rollins albums you can find from this time period. He is at the top of his game producing great session after session. The Sound of Sonny is proof of that. Enjoy!

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At The Lighthouse

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Today’s Runner is a set of hard bop from the second generation of Cannonball Adderley’s quintet. Along with the legendary alto sax player, Julian “Cannonball” Adderley is joined by his brother Nat on cornet, pianist Victor Feldman, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Louis Hayes. Highlights here are Sack O’ Woe, Jimmy Heath’s Big P and Victor Feldman’s Azule Serape and Exodus.

If you want to step back, and experience an exciting jazz set from the early 60’s visit The Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach California, and have a listen to The Cannonball Adderley Quintet.

Enjoy!

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Monk’s Dream

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Thelonious Monk, along with Bird and Diz, was a pioneer of Bebop in the 40’s. Today’s Runner, Monk’s Dream, is a fine spin over drinks at 5, dinner at 6, or a nightcap at day’s end. It’s also pretty good on the headset on a 20-mile stretch of back road.

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Mingus Ah Um

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There is some music that typically stays in the background. I enjoy listening to jazz while I read, or entertain friends. And likewise, there are instruments that typically take the back seat to others. The bass usually plays a supporting role, keeping the time and maintaining the pace. Jazz musician, Charles Mingus played bass in the middle part of the 20th century, but he was no second fiddle, and he definitely took back seat to no one. Mingus lead the way, playing with the greats like Monk, Coltrane, Ellington and more. He was part of a new breed of jazz musician in the 50’s that took the genre in a new direction, transforming Bebop into Hard Bop and beyond. Like Ellington, Mingus was a ardent composer, always writing. He was an artist, activist, a true Renaissance man.

Today’s Runner, Mingus Ah Um kicks off with the classic Better Git It In Your Soul, taken in a hard-charging 6/8 and punctuated by joyous gospel shouts. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat and Boogie Stop Shuffle take you to the set of the 60’s TV versions of Batman and the Green Hornet. The incidental music was obviously modeled after the signature sound on this album. There are some tributes to the Duke and Jelly Roll Morton here as well.

Total run time is 72 minutes. Great, great stuff!

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