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Jazz Articles | Blog

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

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

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

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

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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 ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Sonny Rollins, Volume Two – 1957

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There are no bad records by Sonny Rollins, but some are better than others. This is one of the better ones. Sonny Rollins Volume Two is, as the name suggests, Rollins' second recording for Blue Note. It's uniformly excellent with a fantastic band, especially the great J.J. Johnson on trombone and two tracks with the utterly unique Thelonious Monk. If only the title were better. That may be a dumb thing to criticize, but ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Sonny Rollins, Volume One – 1956

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It's easy to like Sonny Rollins. The guy is bluesy, edgy and clever. And it almost doesn't matter which period of Rollins' career you choose. It's all pretty terrific. But there's an unexpected down side: Because Rollins has so many fantastic recordings, listening to ones that are merely good can be a little disappointing. That's how I feel about Sonny Rollins Volume One--the first of four recordings that Rollins made for Blue Note in 1956 and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sonny Rollins: Road Shows, Vol. 3

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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, ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

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

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sonny Rollins: Road Shows, Vol. 3

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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 ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Sonny Rollins: Barcelona Voll-Damm Jazz Festival, Spain, November 20, 2012

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Sonny RollinsPalau de la Música44 Barcelona Voll-Damm International Jazz FestivalNovember 20, 2012Traditionally marked in the calendar for being fascist dictator Franco's death anniversary, November 20--or 20-N, as referred to in Spain--has frequently been accompanied by some infamous demonstrations where the restrictive and attacking attitudes that would, by now, hopefully be a thing of the past still take the chance to make a shout in a public space. For an eager audience, this day in 2012 ...


All About Vince Guaraldi!

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