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Saxophone Colossus Import

4.8 out of 5 stars 173 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, April 15, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

The sixth album Sonny Rollins recorded as the leader of his own band, Saxophone Colossus features Sonny on saxophone, Tommy Flanagan on piano, Doug Watkins on bass and Max Roach on drums. It was recorded in a single day, the tight knit of the musicians enabling them to record most of the songs in one take, then something of a rarity. Featured are Sonnys best known song St Thomas, two other original compositions and two covers, of which Moritat (better known as Mack The Knife) is probably the best known. Overall the album is a jazz classic, consistently regarded as one fo the best jazz albums released by not only Sonny but by his label Prestige.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. St. Thomas 2. You Don't Know What Love Is 3. Strode Rode 4. Moritat (Mack The Knife) 5. Blue 7


Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 15, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Hallmark
  • ASIN: B00BXK0PQ0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,672 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jeffrey Harris on 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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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 way...in 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 swing...one 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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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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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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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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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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