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I love Sonny Rollins more than any other player. For the past year or so I have listened to and studied more Trane and less Sonny, however in the last few weeks I started playing my Sonny records and Cds again. Jeez you kind of (at least I did) forget how truly great he is. When I listen to early Trane (Miles Cookin , Relaxin etc) you can hear him getting better developing.....but when I listen to early Sonny for instance Mambo Bounce, Newk's Fade Away, No Moe, even if he never made Saxophone Colossus or anything else after he was already so, so great that I believe he would still be talked about as one of the greatest tenor players ever .....
 

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Did you see the youtube links posted recently?
That was a great period.
I didn't know he was a Super 20 guy then.
Sounded incredible. His ideas and execution were so solid and original early on.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Pgraves said:
Did you see the youtube links posted recently?
That was a great period.
I didn't know he was a Super 20 guy then.
Sounded incredible. His ideas and execution were so solid and original early on.
He wasn't it was a Zepher
 

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sonnymobleytrane said:
but when I listen to early Sonny for instance Mambo Bounce, Newk's Fade Away, No Moe, even if he never made Saxophone Colossus or anything else after he was already so, so great that I believe he would still be talked about as one of the greatest tenor players ever .....
I totally agree.

If Sonny had died in Jun of '56 along w/ Clifford Brown he had already made
a permanent mark, by then.

Those sides you mention along w/ his solos on:

-Collectors Items w/ Miles and Bird)on tenor(1953)
-Movin Out(1954), Worktime(1955) w/ Monk (1953 & 54)
-Miles Davis BAG'S GROOVE (1954)
-His work w/ Brown and Roach (Live at Basin street)
- Rollins + 4 (Mar '56)

Sonny made some great records in his early 20s that show remarkable maturity.

I still go back to solos like The Way you look tonight and more than you know
w/ Monk and am amazed at how perfect they are.

Or Sonny standing toe-to-toe w/ Bird on Serpent's tooth and Compulsion,
at 22 yrs old ! You can hear how together he was, then, even though
he had just gotten out of jail and was still having problems w/ heroin.

Ira Gitler was an early champion of Sonny's and supervised all of the Prestige
sessions as well as wrote liner notes.

He didn't have his more mature tone of later 56 onward, but I actually really
like Sonny's tone in in the '53-55 period.

Walter Bishop Jr. remarked that he thought Sonny had personalized Bird's tone
on tenor, and I can hear that, at least in that early period.

His solos on Airegin, Oleo, But not for me(both takes) are very swinging for
a guy 23 yrs old his command of swing and subtle use of space is 2nd only
to Charlie Parker who he clearly studied in these aspects .

His solos on Paradox and Raincheck .:shock:

I'd love to sit down with Sonny and bore him to tears talking about his playing
from this period.:D

Loooove early Sonny Rollins !
 

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I especially love his early 60's stuff. I have a couple of records with Henry Grimes (including one with Kenny Clarke). I love all his stuff up to the mid 70's and his live performances over the last few decades are still legendary.
 

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The Bridge -- that perfect balance of technique and lyricism -- does it for me.
 

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I like his sound on his Link the best. The Berg sound is still amazing, but man, you can't beat his Link sound, except John Coltrane.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
For me the stuff right before he took his first famous break from the Jazz world is the Greatest stuff (Stockholm 1958 is a great recording if you can find it)....but again I have been listening to the real early stuff and loving it,
 

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sonnymobleytrane said:
For me the stuff right before he took his first famous break from the Jazz world is the Greatest stuff (Stockholm 1958 is a great recording if you can find it)....but again I have been listening to the real early stuff and loving it,
I entirely agree that Sonny made his mark early, and would indeed have been remembered even if he'd disappeared before Saxophone Colossus or Night at the VV had ever happened. I love early Newk.

I mentioned in the YouTube thread that this period right before his first sabbatical (the recording is Stockholm 1959 rather than '58) is for me just about as good as jazz gets.

I'm guessing that swampcabbage's reference to the stuff with Kenny Clarke and Henry Grimes is also from that 1959 European tour, rather than from the early '60s -- there's a live club bootleg from that tour from Aix En Provence where Kenny's filling in for Sonny's drummer, who got into some sort of ... something ... with Sonny and either quit or was fired.

Sonny and Kenny are absolutely devastating on these tracks. On one track they do a very long and killing exchange of fours, and Kenny finally does something to kind of wrap things up, and you hear Sonny say to him afterwards something along the lines of "Hey, what happened: I thought we were gonna STRETCH!"

By the way, If you love Sonny, you just must go immediately to listen to this piece from a few months ago on NPR -- I promise you'll love it or your money back:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9701347
 

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^That's absolutely the stuff. You're right, I totally forgot that was '59. That is my favorite period. I wish that setup with Kenny had more documentation. I've got another recording called Sonnymoon for Two which smokes nicely though it doesn't stretch as much as that record with Clarke.
 

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Kelly Bucheger said:
there's a live club bootleg from that tour from Aix En Provence where Kenny's filling in for Sonny's drummer, who got into some sort of ... something ... with Sonny and either quit or was fired.

Sonny and Kenny are absolutely devastating on these tracks. On one track they do a very long and killing exchange of fours, and Kenny finally does something to kind of wrap things up, and you hear Sonny say to him afterwards something along the lines of "Hey, what happened: I thought we were gonna STRETCH!"

]
On that bootleg -

Did you notice on Ladybird where sonny quotes a few bars from Bird's tenor
solo on Half Nelson(same chord progression) w/ Miles from '47, verbatim ? ;)
 

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Seeing him on Sept. 18th at Carnegie Hall! Can't wait. And I agree that his performances from the 1950's are *incredible* - I've been listening alot to the Sonny/MJQ and Live at the Vanguard recordings lately. I agree that he and Coltrane did seem to follow very different trajectories, developmentally. Sonny was amazing at a very early age, and thank goodness he's still with us.
 

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sonnymobleytrane said:
I love Sonny Rollins more than any other player. For the past year or so I have listened to and studied more Trane and less Sonny, however in the last few weeks I started playing my Sonny records and Cds again. Jeez you kind of (at least I did) forget how truly great he is. When I listen to early Trane (Miles Cookin , Relaxin etc) you can hear him getting better developing.....but when I listen to early Sonny for instance Mambo Bounce, Newk's Fade Away, No Moe, even if he never made Saxophone Colossus or anything else after he was already so, so great that I believe he would still be talked about as one of the greatest tenor players ever .....
Absolutely right IMHO. The utterly astonishing thing with Sonny (for me) is that he clearly saw a need to keep developing after playing this stuff and made such a big effort to try different things. I mean, I reckon he *could* have just continued churning out these kinds of astonishing pieces of music and we'd be listening still with our jaws hanging open but he felt the need to keep experimenting. I think that shows great spirit and bravery. Even if some of his later stuff doesn't always come off it's still got to be listened to in this context.
 

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pc1234 said:
Seeing him on Sept. 18th at Carnegie Hall! Can't wait. And I agree that his performances from the 1950's are *incredible* - I've been listening alot to the Sonny/MJQ and Live at the Vanguard recordings lately. I agree that he and Coltrane did seem to follow very different trajectories, developmentally. Sonny was amazing at a very early age, and thank goodness he's still with us.
I have seen Sonny Rollins in concert three times in the past thirteen years. The first time was the best. In fact it was the best live performance I have ever attended, in spite of that the list includes Brecker, Garrett, Getz, Henderson, Redman, Woods, most of which were less than 10-15 feet away on stage. That night Sonny Rollins played straight for 2 1/2 hours with three guys so young that they could barely grow a beard and they could barely keep up with Sonny Rollins either. Maybe he was even better, when he was younger, but that's looking at the glass as being half full. The later concerts were also great but he has slowed down somewhat an the venues were bigger with different less attentive crowd.

I hope you will enjoy it! Certainly something to look forward to.
 

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There's also a very cool interview with Henry Grimes (as well as notable others) on Sonny's site.
 
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