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Jazz Icons: Sonny Rollins - Live in '65 & '68

5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This collection presents Sonny Rollins in both a quartet and pianoless trio format utilizing a combination of stellar European and American accompanying musicians. The Copenhagen '65 concert is a splendid demonstration of why Boston drummer Alan Dawson has been so respected and even revered by fellow drummers around the world. Even Sonny Rollins, notorious for his demanding standards for drummers, spoke of Dawson's work in the highest superlatives. Both concert performances feature Europe's finest bassist, the ubiquitous Niels Henning Orsted-Pedersen, who was nineteen years old for the Copenhagen '65 concert and already regarded as a jazz veteran and Europe's most in-demand bassist. This is classic Sonny Rollins from what so many writers, fellow musicians, and fans consider his classic period when he and John Coltrane were regarded as the most important saxophonists in jazz.

Review

And it's a superb archival document, highlighted by Rollins' remarkable improvisation and the extraordinarily tight-knit support he receives from drummer/educator Alan Dawson and bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pederson. Complete with a twenty-four page booklet containing anecdotal, historical and testimonial type essays, the overall program intimates quite a bit of bang for your buck. . .At the end of the day, the black and white footage reinforces the widely-accepted statement that Rollins is our greatest living jazz improviser. Simply stated, this flick should be deemed essential viewing for students of improvisation and of course, Rollins' vast legion of admirers. -- eJazzNews.com, Glenn Astarita, October 28, 2008

Caught in Denmark/65 and 68 when Sonny Rollins was, well, SONNY ROLLINS, the tenorist looks, sounds and plays like a guy who is the Saxophone Colossus. With his head shaved and a sporting a groovy beard, Rollins does the trio format with NHOP/b and Alan Dawson/d in 65 for some room filling playing on "There Will Never Be Another You" and "Darn That Dream". The band glides like Katerina Witt on "Oleo/Sonnymoon for Two" as Rollins, with ever cool demeanor, tears of the layers of the piece like pealing an onion. The 68 quartet includes pianist Kenny Drew and drummer Tootie Heath along with NHOP and a bereted Rollins for a thunderous "Green Dolphin Street". Rollins' a capella intro, and 90 second closing cadenza, are simply heart stopping. Heath is having a good time during this set, humming along "St. Thomas" as he snaps, crackles and pops through the tune. Classic period of a classic tenor. -- JazzWeekly.com, George W. Harris, September 2008

For enthusiasts of archival treasures featuring the great tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, who were put off by the variable quality of his recent compilation "Road Shows, Vol. 1," relief is here. The "Jazz Icons DVD" release of "Sonny Rollins, Live in `65 & `68," featuring performances filmed for television in Denmark, offers some of the best music that Rollins ever recorded -- in particular, the 1965 session, from the Copenhagen Jazz Festival. -- NewYorker.com, Richard Brody, December 9, 2008

Gift Guide: For the jazz lover who would appreciate the most invigorating jazz DVD released this year: "Sonny Rollins: Live in '65 and '68" (Jazz Icons) features the magisterial tenor saxophonist at the peak of his powers. He creates a sustained level of euphoria and invention in these European concerts. -- Detriot Free Press, Freep.com, Mark Stryker, December 20, 2008

Jazz Icons is doing for jazz what the Criterion Collection has done for classic and important films. -- Jazz Times Magazine

The sound quality is first rate, and the performances are extraordinary. -- Newsweek Magazine

This season has produced a bumper crop of worthy live releases by Sonny Rollins. First came "Live in '65 & '68," a gem from the latest series of "Jazz Icons" DVDs on Naxos (jazzicons.com). Consisting of a pair of concerts in Copenhagen originally taped for television broadcast, it finds Mr. Rollins, the great tenor saxophonist, in casual form but at a creative peak, improvising with an astonishing flow of ideas. In the loose but invigorating 1965 performance he digs in with Alan Dawson, a whip-smart and underdocumented Boston drummer, and Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, a precociously nimble Danish bassist. The 1968 concert feels a bit more settled and less surprising, with Mr. Rollins and Mr. Orsted Pedersen alongside Kenny Drew on piano and Albert (Tootie) Heath on drums. In both instances there's a deceptively breezy version of Mr. Rollins's signature calypso "St. Thomas," and he makes each feel like a fresh opportunity. -- The New York Times, Nate Chinen, November 16, 2008

This, simply put, is one of the top few saxophonists in jazz at his sure peak. The genius of 1956 was brilliant, and the icon of today is an elegant wonder, but the Sonny Rollins of the `60s was the Sonny Rollins you want captured forever at a true peak. Feast on it. -- PopMatters.com, Will Layman, April 8, 2009

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Sonny Rollins, Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, Alan Dawson, Kenny Drew
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Mono, Black & White, Dolby
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Jazz Icons
  • DVD Release Date: September 30, 2008
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001CW2HJC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,123 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Top Customer Reviews

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I was present at the concert, and I have never heard Rollins better. The concert has been broadcast by the danish state radio, I taped it, and later burned it on cd, so I know every note. Many jazzpeople has tried to get the concert issued, but Rollins' wife would not allow it, no explanation why, so this dvd is a scoop.

Ole Olsen
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Format: DVD
~ This 87 minute DVD contains two concerts recorded in Denmark; the first in 1965, the second in 1968. For the 1965 concert Sonny is accompanied by 19-year old bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pederson, who was already regarded as a jazz veteran and Europe's most in-demand bassist, and by drummer Alan Dawson, who splendidly demonstrates why he has been so respected and even revered by fellow drummers around the world. For the 1968 concert he is again supported by Orsted Pedersen alongside Kenny Drew on piano and Albert (Tootie) Heath on drums.
~ In both concerts Sonny is at a creative peak, improvising with an astonishing flow of ideas. The 1965 performance is loose but invigorating while the 1968 concert feels a bit more settled and less surprising.
~ The 1965 concert offers excellent versions of "There Will Never Be Another You", "Darn That Dream", "Oleo / Sonnymoon for Two", "Three Little Words", and his signature tune "St. Thomas".
~ The 1968 concert reprises "St. Thomas" and adds outstanding versions of "Four" and "On Green Dolphin Street", in which Rollins starts with an a capella intro and closes with a 90 second. Heath is having a good time during this set, humming along "St. Thomas" as he snaps, crackles and pops through the tune.
~ Informative twenty-four page booklet. Excellent cinematography, and very good sound.
~ Highly recommended for students of improvisation and Sonny's vast legion of admirers. This is classic Sonny Rollins from what people consider his classic period.
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These are landmark sessions in a very great career. In maturity, Rollins became, like Monk, a unique. His phrasing is always his own and he parses not simply the chords, but the songs themselves, which ar never lost. This is work by a master, bursting with originality and energy, and sometimes wit.
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'61-'68 Sonny is imaginative, in-and-out jazz saxophone playing at its absolute best, and I would do horrible, unspeakable things to have actually attended one of his gigs during this period. Thank God for this DVD for getting me so much closer!

The trio hook-up with Alan Dawson and NHOP is otherworldly!! The sound quality of both sets, the '65 trio and '68 quartet, is fantastic. This amazing music will improve your life.
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