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Tenor Madness by Sonny Rollins

As a prelude to his first undisputed classic "Saxophone Colossus," "Tenor Madness" was recorded in May ’56 during a hyper period of recording. Hoping to distance himself from the influence of the just deceased Charlie Parker and the then-popular romanticism of Stan Getz, Rollins, ably accompanied by Miles’ venerable rhythm section - Philly Joe Jones (drums), Paul Chamber (bass), and Red Garland (piano) - set about developing his own surging lyricality and bop virtuosity.

The title track with John Coltrane (the only time these two ever recorded together) may on paper appear as a battle of the new tenor titans but is in reality a somewhat subdued 12-bar exercise. The final four tracks of this reissue, especially the time inverted waltz, (going from 3/4 to 4/4) "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," the strolling "When Your Lover Has Gone" and the mid-tempo groover "Paul’s Pal" find a relaxed Rollins giving glimpses of the sustained inventiveness future recordings would revel in.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Sonny Rollins
  • CD Title: Tenor Madness
  • Genre: BeBop / Hard Bop
  • Year Released: 1957
  • Reissue Original Release: 2001
  • Record Label: Prestige
  • Musicians: Philly Joe Jones (drums), Paul Chamber (bass), John Coltrane (sax), Sonny Rollins (sax), Red Garland (piano).
  • Rating: Two Stars
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