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Jazz - Released January 1, 2006 | Concord Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Sonny Rollins recorded many memorable sessions during 1954-1958, but Saxophone Colossus is arguably his finest all-around set. Joined by pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Doug Watkins, and drummer Max Roach, Rollins debuts and performs the definitive version of "St. Thomas," tears into the chord changes of "Mack the Knife" (here called "Moritat"), introduces "Strode Rode," is lyrical on "You Don't Know What Love Is," and constructs a solo on "Blue Seven" that practically defines his style. Essential music that, as with all of Rollins' Prestige recordings, has also been reissued as part of a huge "complete" box set; listeners with a tight budget are advised to pick up this single disc and be amazed. ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released June 16, 2003 | RCA Bluebird

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins' first recording after ending a surprising three-year retirement found the great saxophonist sounding very similar to how he had played in 1959, although he would soon start investigating freer forms. In a pianoless quartet with guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Bob Cranshaw, and drummer Ben Riley, Rollins explores four standards (including "Without a Song" and "God Bless the Child") plus two fiery originals, highlighted by the title cut. The interplay between Rollins and Hall is consistently impressive, making this set a near-classic and a very successful comeback. ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1957 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1997 | Impulse!

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released January 27, 2017 | Contemporary

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Jazz - Released October 24, 2014 | Sony Music Entertainment

Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released May 2, 2014 | Okeh

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With his smooth tone, clear articulation, and willingness to stretch things out into unexpected places, Sonny Rollins has simply been one of the best jazz saxophonists of his generation, and if he wasn't as experimental and explorative as John Coltrane, say, he was every bit as influential, and by the mid-'50s, there wasn't a steadier player anywhere in jazz, a course that continues to hold true a decade and change into the 21st century. Rollins launched his own Doxy label in 2006, and beginning in 2008, he started issuing concert recordings from his vast personal archive as part of his Road Shows series on the Doxy imprint. The first volume, issued in 2008, collected live tracks spanning nearly 30 years, while the second volume centered on his 80th birthday concert at New York's Beacon Theatre. This third volume draws six tracks recorded at live sets around the globe in Saitama, Toulouse, Marseille, Marciac, and St. Louis between 2001 and 2012, including a previously unreleased Rollins composition, "Patanjali." Rollins has always said that the concert stage is his preferred mode of musical presentation, where, freed of studio time constraints, he can stretch out in any direction he chooses, for as long or as short a time as he chooses, and with the audience onboard, his sets are, in a sense, collaborations. Trombonist Clifton Anderson and bassist Bob Cranshaw are heard on each track here, while pianist Stephen Scott, guitarists Bobby Broom and Peter Bernstein, drummers Kobie Watkins, Perry Wilson, Steve Jordan, and Victor Lewis, and percussionists Kimati Dinizulu and Sammy Figueroa appear on selected tracks. Rollins is Rollins, of course, and his playing is a continued treasure, particularly given the casualty rate among the first wave of bop musicians. Rollins has actually had a jazz career that stretches over a half-century now, and that he is still active and recording makes this set all the more a testament to a saxophone colossus. ~ Steve Leggett
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | Prestige

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | Prestige

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2008 | Concord Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
By February of 1958, when Sonny Rollins recorded Freedom Suite, his political consciousness had risen to match the poetic scope of his music. In addressing his place as a creative artist and an African-American, Rollins recognized that both aspects of his being existed under second-class circumstances, and that it was time for this country to review these inequities. In recording with bassist Oscar Pettiford and drummer Max Roach, Rollins aligned himself with the modern jazz innovators who best exemplified his righteous brand of freedom. Pettiford is particularly inspired on trio and duo versions of "Till There Was You," where he displays an uncanny knack for enunciating lyrical syncopations without losing the flow of the beat or a sense of harmonic structure. His ringing half notes on the head to "Will You Still Be Mine?" set up a vibrant series of Rollins/Roach exchanges, while his charming solo distills the melody into its most swinging components. But it's "Freedom Suite," with its stunning stops and starts, extended variations, thematic interludes, and exhilarating denouement, that invites the most superlatives. Rollins' sense of sustained melodic invention is remarkable, as is his cyclical formal structure. The opening theme, with its affectionate parody of a formal overture, sets the band in motion, as if motifs and contrasting themes criss-cross and collide in a swinging trialogue. A waltz figure and dramatic, extended cadenza introduces one of Rollins' most touching ballads, richly tinted in smoky shades of blue, with some joyous buck and wing by Pettiford and Roach. Finally, a reprise of the waltz theme gives way to a climactic chase, inspiring some of Roach's most fervent, singing breaks, before a return to the opening theme ties it all up.
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1988 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
The timeless Way out West established Sonny Rollins as jazz's top tenor saxophonist (at least until John Coltrane surpassed him the following year). Joined by bassist Ray Brown and drummer Shelly Manne, Rollins is heard at one of his peaks on such pieces as "I'm an Old Cowhand (From the Rio Grande)," his own "Way out West," "There Is No Greater Love," and "Come, Gone" (a fast stomp based on "After You've Gone"). The William Claxton photo of Rollins wearing Western gear (and holding his tenor) in the desert is also a classic. [The Contemporary re-release appends three bonus tracks, all of them alternate takes.] ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1958 | Concord Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Max Roach on drums, Oscar Pettiford on the double bass and no pianist, like the year before in Way Out West: Sonny Rollins once again blows the wind of rebellion in this masterpiece recorded on February 11th and March 7th, 1958. From the start, the most popular tenor of that time lays down a theme of over 19 minutes: his album’s title, Freedom Suite! What a freedom suite indeed! Changing rhythms, unexpected escapades, freedom of tone and recurring themes never prevent the three men from conversing intensely. The listener must surrender himself to these high-flying exchanges, rather unprecedented at that time, let themselves be carried by this lava flow that is indeed extreme (never free), but never switches off from its melodic framework, or more precisely from its narration. Freedom Suite’s other great strength is to be the album of a true trio, rather than Rollins’ whim. Both Roach and Pettiford unfold stunning rhythm designs, beefing up the album’s inventiveness. With a record of this magnitude, Sonny Rollins shakes up the limits of jazz and cries out against segregation in late-50s America. He explains it in the sleeve’s notes: “America is deeply rooted in black culture. Its colloquialisms. Its humour. Its music. How ironic that Black people, who more than any other, claim America’s culture as their own, are in fact persecuted and repressed. That black people, who have exemplified humanity in their very existence, are being rewarded with inhumanity." © MZ/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released April 3, 2013 | Fresh Sound Records

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Jazz - Released October 29, 2012 | Chrome Dreams