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Album Review

Sonny Rollins: Holding the Stage: Road Shows Vol. 4

Read "Holding the Stage: Road Shows Vol. 4" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki


At this point in his long and storied career, tenor saxman Sonny Rollins is probably incapable of releasing genuinely bad music (which isn't as obvious a statement as it may seem if, for example, you've tried to listen to Bob Dylan's Shadows in the Night Sinatra homage). Still, some sets are better than others, and Sonny recorded live onstage, spontaneously captured in the improvisational moment, is about as good as Sonny gets. “Something about the interaction of human being to ...

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Album Review

Sonny Rollins: Holding The Stage: Road Shows, Vol. 4

Read "Holding The Stage: Road Shows, Vol. 4" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


The day may come when the well runs dry, but that day is not upon us. The fourth installment of Sonny Rollins' Road Shows series has arrived, bringing more beauties from the archives to light while bearing out that the genius of the Saxophone Colossus is best demonstrated on the stage. That's where the magic has always happened for him, and that's why these offerings have been so well-received. The first three volumes are already considered to be indispensable items ...

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Album Review

Sonny Rollins: Road Shows, Vol. 3

Read "Road Shows, Vol. 3" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian


The third installment of tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins' live performances, Road Shows, Volume 3 is the most uniformly outstanding of the series. A task that is hard to achieve since the first two albums were superb musical gems in their own right. Despite covering a span of 11 years the current disc demonstrates extreme thematic cohesiveness, mostly thanks to Rollins' timeless and unique innovative style.His eight-minute unaccompanied improvisation “Solo Sonny" recorded in St Louis in 2009, for example, ...

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Extended Analysis

Sonny Rollins: Road Shows, Vol. 3 (2014)

Read "Sonny Rollins: Road Shows, Vol. 3 (2014)" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer


Legendary tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins has proven himself to be one of the most durable, consistently strong musicians of any era and genre. He started playing tenor saxophone in the 1940s, came into his own as a recognized player in the 1950s, and, except for short interruptions has been working and recording ever since. The reason he has been so steadily successful and productive is that he has unswervingly pursued his own exciting and highly inventive style that incorporates the ...

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Album Review

Sonny Rollins: Road Shows, Vol. 3

Read "Road Shows, Vol. 3" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


Look beyond harmony, go past technique, and pay no mind to personality. When you do all of that, Sonny Rollins still remains one of the greatest improvisers to ever wield an instrument. And why is that? The answer is simple: Rollins is forever in a state of becoming. He's the rare player who doesn't play towards a destination; he plays for the journey, and his journeys are epic and legendary. While that's hardly news to any longtime ...

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Album Review

Sonny Rollins: Road Shows, Vol. 2

Read "Road Shows, Vol. 2" reviewed by Greg Simmons


The Beacon Theatre in New York holds 2,700 people, and--much like fans claiming to have seen the final game of the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field--there may already be 20,000 people who swear they were there for Sonny Rollins' 80th Birthday performance. At 80 years old, Rollins is still a damn good tenor saxophonist, and Roadshows Volume 2 captures terrific performances from three 2010 live dates, with a heavy emphasis on that birthday party and some A-list guests.

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Album Review

Sonny Rollins: Road Shows, Vol. 2

Read "Road Shows, Vol. 2" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


Tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, into his eighth decade now, has nothing left to prove but keeps doing it anyway. The iconic artist has put out classic albums like Newk's Time (Blue Note Records, 1957) and Saxophone Colossus (Prestige Records, 1956) and The Bridge (RCA Records, 1962), continuing to maintain a vibrant career for more than six decades and surging forward with with 2008's Road Shows, Volume 1 (Doxy Records) and now, with Road Shows, Volume 2.This is, as ...


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