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Saxophone Colossus [Original recording reissued]

Sonny RollinsAudio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.


Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 5 Songs, 2006 $5.85  
Audio CD, Original recording remastered, 2006 $11.83  
Audio CD, Original recording reissued, 1991 --  
Vinyl, 2009 $13.60  
Audio Cassette, 1991 --  

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. St. Thomas 6:47$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  2. You Don't Know What Love Is 6:29$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Strode Rode 5:14$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Moritat10:04Album Only
listen  5. Blue 711:17Album Only

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Image of album by Sonny Rollins


Image of Sonny Rollins


Always a restless creative spirit, a constantly self-renewing citizen of the jazz world and one of the music's leading lights, saxophone legend Sonny Rollins has long been ambivalent about, even averse to, the business side of music. However, since forming his own record label, Doxy, in 2005, Rollins has emerged as an inspired-and surprisingly assertive-entrepreneur.

Doxy's first ... Read more in Amazon's Sonny Rollins Store

Visit Amazon's Sonny Rollins Store
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 1, 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued
  • Label: Original Jazz Classics/Prestige
  • ASIN: B000000YG5
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200,349 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Though he lacked the improvisational fire of John Coltrane and the restless curiosity of Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins played with a rich, round tone that complimented his melodic inclinations, making him the most accessible of the post-bop musicians. Saxophone Colossus is the most successful of the late '50s albums that made his reputation. Rollins' playing never falters; he's backed by the redoubtable Max Roach on drums, Tommy Flannagan on piano, and Doug Watkins on bass. Rollins is equally at home with the lilting Caribbean air of "St. Thomas," standards ("You Don't Know What Love Is"), blues ("Strode Rode," featuring a driving Tommy Flannagan solo), and a smoldering version of Brecht-Weill's "Moritat" (better known as "Mac the Knife"). If you are new to jazz, there is no better place to start than Saxophone Colossus. --Steven Mirkin

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
96 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A jazz milestone.... May 20, 2001
Format:Audio CD
Without a doubt, one of the five best jazz albums ever made is this 1956 masterpiece. Recorded in a single day at Rudy Van Gelder's living room/studio, Sonny Rollins earned his place as a legend with "Saxophone Colossus". Aided and abetted by powerhouse drummer Max Roach, pianist Tommy Flanagan, and bassist Doug Watkins, the quartet plays with the precision of a chamber orchestra, and swings just as hard. It's not very often that you hear an album where the musicians are so in tune with each other. From the breezy sway of "St. Thomas" to the final notes of "Blue 7", Rollins and company shows how it should be done. This newly remastered edition finally sounds as great as the original vinyl pressing but without the hefty price you'll shuck out for an original copy. No serious jazz fan should be without a copy of this amazing album in their collection.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saxophone Colossus September 10, 2003
Format:Audio CD
The question of who was the greater tenor sax player--Rollins or John Coltrane--continues even today. Let's look at it this 1956, Coltrane was gaining prominence in Miles Davis' quintet, but he was far from being a great player. He did not yet have the technique to express the wild ideas in his brain. A year later, however, he went to play with Thelonious Monk's quartet, and the experience liberated him and his style. Only at that point could he truly hold his own against Rollins, who was already a mature player by 1956. Compared side by side, it seems Coltrane recorded more bona fide classic albums than Rollins, but I don't believe any of them are as consistently great as "Saxophone Colossus" ("Giant Steps" comes closest). Rollins' playing throughout the album is extraordinary, especially on the last number, "Blue 7", a strange blues improvisation which features one of Max Roach's fiercest drum solos. Tommy Flanagan plays piano, and he is known to double the quality of any album he plays on. Doug Watkins plays the bass, and he's got a nice sense of wonders why he only solos on one tune--"Moritat". But the star is Rollins, who is on fire from the word go. Clarity, coherence, speed, imagination and unpredictability are his weapons, and they make this probably the best saxophone record ever.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great company November 10, 2006
Format:Audio CD
Having never heard of Analog productions before I was a bit reluctant to spend almost $30 for this hybrid SACD, but decided to try it out. This is the most impressed I have been by a Super Audio CD since "Kind of Blue". Very good presence and none of the stridence which can interfere with my enjoyment of tenor sax at times. Analogue productions has very high production values indeed. They claim on the label that the high quality of the sound is due to their proprietary all-tube tape mastering equipment with the latest DSD transfer technology. I will buy more SACD's from them starting with another Sonny - "Way Out West". I may buy their whole catalog :-).
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant album--problem w/RVG though September 20, 2006
Format:Audio CD
The brilliance of this album has been stated many times by people with more jazz knowledge than me. However I thought I should echo what the other reviewer states here: there are some minor problems with this disc. Specifically, there is a flutter on the 4th track "Moritat." I thought I heard it 3-4 different times. It doesn't ruin the music, but you might be tempted to return the disc. The RVG series is stellar so I'm assuming it's a problem with the masters. If that's not the problem then it may be in the manufacturing. Mildly disappointing...

I would like to put in a quick mention of the genius of Max Roach. His technique on the ride cymbal is revolutionary. I could write an essay on it myself! All in all, this is one of my all-time favorite jazz albums.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Jazz Masterpiece March 19, 2003
Format:Audio CD
Sonny Rollins , considered by many to be the quintessential live performer, admittedly felt restricted in a studio. However listening to his masterpiece Saxophone Colossus it is clear that he was on this occasion able to capture some of the energy of a live performance on vinyl. The record is a tour-du-force of Rollins musical vision and mastery of improvisational inventiveness within a melodic and harmonic form that draws the listener in chorus after chorus.
Max Roach's drumming drives every track particularly the classic St Thomas. Roach and Rollins trade 4's on Blue 7 and play off of each other beautifully throughout. Tommy Flanagan's piano playing is subtle and perfectly suited to this group.
This is my favorite Rollins recording other than those made with Clifford Brown and Max Roach's group.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic! August 9, 2000
Format:Audio CD
Sonny Rollins solidified his claim to the top tenor spot of the late 1950's with albums like, "Way Out West" and this one. His tone is warm, full, and flawless as he swings his way through this set with Max Roach on drums, Tommy Flanagan on piano, and Doug Watkins on bass. The calypso flavored "St Thomas" opens the disc and is a textbook example of what makes Rollins great. His playing is effortless, relaxed, and flawless. He displays a soft touch with sensetive interpretation of the standard "You Don't Know What Love Is", and kicks it back into high gear with the hard charging uptempo "Strode Rode". He displays his talent for uncovering unconventional material with a selection from a German musical here titled "Moritat". The final track is the jazz masterpiece "Blue7". Featuring masterful solos by Roach and Rollins this track leaves one feeling Sonny is cooler than most people could hope to be. Saxophone Colossus is one of those rare albums that is packed with legendary performances and future standards, flawless from top to bottom. This cd is essential and is guaranteed to delight.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
indispensable for jazz lovers!
Published 7 days ago by Rainri Back
5.0 out of 5 stars One of sonny's best... If not THE best.
I don't really see any need to write any sort of review for this cd. Its Sonny Rollins, enough said. And one of my favorites of his by the way.
Published 12 days ago by jason m.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 17 days ago by RobsterMobster
5.0 out of 5 stars "Colossus" Well Named
Really good, especially the first 3 tunes. "St. Thomas" kicks it off with upbeat humor. 2nd cut also good. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Alan S. Pierpoint
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
JAZZ is good for the soul.
Published 1 month ago by lmwallace
5.0 out of 5 stars Shame on you if you don't have this album
Mr. Rollins' muscular attack and powerful mid- and bell tones are unmistakable. This is a desert island disc. Also, one of the best cover photos ever.
Published 1 month ago by David Burch
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best saxophone / jazz albums EVER! Total 'ear-candy'!
To call this great recording classic is an understatement! This is a jazz masterpiece, and Rudy Van Gelder's 24-bit remastering sounds phenomenal on my high-end stereo system! Read more
Published 3 months ago by CQ DX
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Album
Wonderful tunes, well recorded. Sunny Rollins is a great sax player, a very enjoyable CD remastering of an old LP record.
Published 4 months ago by French Toast King
4.0 out of 5 stars This was a gift
This was a gift for my grandson who plays the saxophone, He wanted music that he could play along with and this CD suited him real good.
Published 4 months ago by Babi
5.0 out of 5 stars Best saxophone album ever
This is the best Rollins album every made. Can't go wrong. It came on time and It's a great gift.
Published 5 months ago by Judith C. Ricker
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