Currently viewing the tag: "Sonny Rollins"

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As mentioned below Sonny Rollins music became more Avant-Garde accordingly to the deteriorating change going on around him in New York City and as racial inequality was effecting everyone in the United States. The 60’s equal rights issues was just another round to be fought and went hand in hand with jazz musicians’ everlasting plight for freedom of expression. The constant struggle for true recognition of jazz music and a place for its followers has been going on since this art form was established in New Orleans. This album, “East Broadway Run Down” consists of only 3 songs with the first one (title song) being  just over 20 minutes long. It was released in 1966 and ranges from a hard bop beat to free jazz especially when it gets intense. A masterful job by Sonny Rollins and great back up by 3 superstars in their own rights, Freddie Hubbard, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones. Outstanding, enjoy!

About the album:

For Sonny Rollins, the 1960s were a period of consolidation and revolution as he refined his own concepts and reacted to the flurry of events around him. In taking stock of John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler and Archie Shepp, Sonny formulated a series of fascinating responses, from the elegant, mainstream approach of THE BRIDGE to his free-form safaris into the underbrush of open-ended group improvisation with Don Cherry (ON THE OUTSIDE). EAST BROADWAY RUNDOWN is the apotheosis of this period, one of Sonny Rollins most powerful recordings. Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones (late of Coltrane’s band) fire each of these performances with an elemental energy. Meanwhile, the relaxed and extremely confident Sonny responds with some of his most charged improvisations, abstract and exploratory, yet lyrical and supremely bluesy. The title tune begins with an angular, fragmented blues vamp. As Garrison and Jones lock into a multi-layered 4/4 groove, Rollins sculpts in space, lagging way behind the beat with heraldic recitatives and coy snippets of the theme, teasing Jones into one rhythmic climax after another in the manner of Monk and Lester Young. Freddie Hubbard responds to Rollins’ thematic parries with fierce, bluesy counterpunches, and….Read More

Rudy Van Gelder remastered two recording sessions with Sonny Rollins as the leader. The name of these two albums are “Sonny Rollins Volume 1” and “Sonny Rollins Volume 2.” I will feature both of these special albums but will not play all of the songs. I will take a few from each album and make sure it will be at least an hour long. After a week or so I will place all the songs from both volumes into the rotation and because of the nature of these albums, they will be placed into two separate playlists. Volume One will be in the Hard Bop and Volume 2 will be placed in the “G4” Playlist (Find out more). Volume one was organized as a complete band with members who played together with Sonny Rollins in the past. Volume two was more like a jam sessions and where you have two Jazz giant pianists, Horace Silver and Thelonious Monk, taking turns on different tunes. Sonny Rollins didn’t play with these artists regularly, it was more like a one-time occasion. Check the schedule link for play times, below are the songs I will feature and the order they will be played, ENJOY!

Tracks that will be featured:

1. (Vol. One) “Decision”  2. (Vol. One) “Plain Jane”  3. (Vol. One) “Sonnysphere”  4. (Vol. Two) “Why Don’t I”  5. (Vol. Two) “Misterioso” 6. Vol. Two) “Reflections”  7. (Vol. Two) “Poor Butterfly”

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About the Volume One album:

Sonny Rollins’ Blue Note years produced some of the quintessential recordings of the post-bop era. The simply titled VOLUME ONE is one such disc that exemplifies the classic swinging quintet format that defined small ensemble performance style from then on. Expertly recorded by the legendary Rudy Van Gelder, Rollins and his men–a young Donald Byrd (trumpet), the masterful Wynton Kelly (piano), Gene Ramey (bass) and bebop pioneer Max Roach (drums)–display expert improvisational skills on the bluesy opener “Decision” and the hard-swinging “Bluesnote.” Sounding very much like the famed Miles Davis quintet of the same period…..Read More

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About the Volume Two album:

The Rudy Van Gelder Edition of VOLUME 2 includes an essay by Bob Blumenthal. This is part of the Blue Note Rudy Van Gelder Editions series. Sonny Rollins’ VOLUME 2 for Blue Note is one of those timeless discs. It is a milestone in jazz history that gathered together some of the founding fathers of the post-bop era. Joining Rollins are Jazz Messengers Art Blakey (drums) and Horace Silver (piano), Miles Davis’ favorite bassist Paul Chambers, the quintessential trombonist J. J. Johnson and even Thelonious Monk himself. This is a swinging tour-de-force that begins with a bang and doesn’t let up until the last note has faded away. Sonny’s own up-tempo “Why Don’t I” kicks off the session with a rhythmic jolt before Rollins’ big tenor launches into a classic swinging solo followed by turns by Johnson, Silver and some heated exchanges with Blakey……Read More

This album “Worktime” was considered to be one of Sonny Rollin’s best album but then again, they are all great. It’s amazing how much this man has done for Jazz and is still around playing now at the ripe age of 82! If you listen very close, you will hear his favorite Coleman Hawkins, throughout his music. Checkout the schedule link for play times, enjoy!

About the Album:

Rollins and Roach also worked off of each other to great effect on “Raincheck,” trading fours on this imaginative selection from the Billy Strayhorn catalog. Even on the more relaxed tempo of “There Are Such Things,” Rollins’ exploration of the changes combines a classic tenor’s warm breathy tone with a bebopper’s determination to leave no possibility unconsidered. Pianist Ray Bryant’s playing is also impeccable throughout.

Coaxed out of seclusion in Chicago to replace Harold Land in the Clifford Brown/Max Roach quintet in 1954, this 1955 release was Rollins’ first album as a leader since the conclusion of his first self-imposed sabbatical. Roach is on hand in the drummer’s seat, spurring Rollins along every step of the way……..Read More

Biography of Sonny Rollins:

Theodore Walter Rollins was born on September 7, 1930 in New York City. He grew up in Harlem not far from the Savoy Ballroom, the Apollo Theatre, and the doorstep of his idol, Coleman Hawkins. After early discovery of Fats Waller and Louis Armstrong, he started out on alto saxophone, inspired by Louis Jordan. At the age of sixteen, he switched to tenor, trying to emulate Hawkins. He also fell under the spell of the musical revolution that surrounded him, Bebop.

He began to follow Charlie Parker, and soon came under the wing of Thelonious Monk, who became his musical mentor and guru. Living in Sugar Hill, his neighborhood musical peers included Jackie McLean, Kenny Drew and Art Taylor, but it was young Sonny who was first out of the pack, working and recording with Babs Gonzales, J.J. Johnson, Bud Powell and Miles Davis before he turned twenty.

“Of course, these people are there to be called on because I think I represent them in a way,” Rollins said recently of his peers and mentors. “They’re not here now so I feel like I’m sort of representing all of them, all of the guys. Remember, I’m one of the last guys left, as I’m constantly being told, so I feel a holy obligation sometimes to evoke these people.”

In the early fifties, he established a reputation first among musicians, then the public, as the most brash and creative young tenor on the scene, through his work with Miles, Monk, and the MJQ………Learn More


This album is a real beauty with hard hitting improvising from a quartet of legends, showcasing Sonny Rollins and Kenny Dorham. A perfect example of raw hard bop jazz from when it started and with a little leftover bebop to boot! The name of the album is “Moving Out” and will be featured here on Jazz Con Class for about two weeks and then respectively placed in the Hard Bop Playlist. Check the Schedule link for play time and ENJOY!

Following on the heels of his magisterial work with Miles Davis on BAGS’ GROOVE, Sonny Rollins entered Van Gelder Studios with a fire-breathing quintet on August 18, 1954, resulting in four of the five selections which make up MOVING OUT. This session might just as well have been titled “Busting Out,” because MOVING OUT represents a breakthrough for Rollins as a bandleader and an improviser.

Rollins really stretches out on the title tune and “Swingin’ For Bumsy,” playing with a new-found rhythmic command and melodic authority–spreading his wings and flying with Bird-like harmonic declamations, and a dramatic flair all his own. The oft-neglected Kenny Dorham proves a brash soaring foil, but it is the legendary pianist Elmo Hope who really arouses the Heath Blakey axis. Hope’s dense, dancing accompaniements prod the soloists into uncharted waters, while his limber, sprawling improvisations represent a singular school of modern piano, occupying a space somewhere between Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk. On the ballad “Silk N’ Satin,” Hope’s brief interlude provides a dark spiritual contrast to Rollins’ romantic yearning, while his blues shouts and broad harmonic brushstrokes on “Solid” inspire Rollins to really dig in and shout……Learn More

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