DCC GOLD CD GZS 1082: SONNY ROLLINS - Saxophone Colossus 1995 SS
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Theodore Walter "Sonny" Rollins (born September 7, 1930 in New York City) is an American jazz tenor saxophonist. Rollins is widely recognized as one of the most important and influential jazz musicians. A number of his compositions, including "St. Thomas", "Oleo", "Doxy", and "Airegin", have become jazz standards.

Although Rollins was born in New York City, his parents were born in the United States Virgin Islands. Rollins received his first saxophone at age 13. He attended Benjamin Franklin High School in East Harlem. He said that a concert by Frank Sinatra there, accompanied by a plea for racial harmony, changed his life.

Rollins started as a pianist, changed to alto saxophone, and finally switched to tenor in 1946. During his high-school years, he played in a band with other future jazz legends Jackie McLean, Kenny Drew and Art Taylor. He was first recorded in 1949 with Babs Gonzales (J.J. Johnson was the arranger of the group). In his recordings through 1954, he played with performers such as Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk.

In 1950, Rollins was arrested for armed robbery and given a sentence of three years. He spent 10 months in Rikers Island jail before he was released on parole. In 1952 he was arrested for violating the terms of his parole by using heroin. Rollins was assigned to the Federal Medical Center, Lexington, at the time the only assistance in the U.S. for drug addicts. While there he was a volunteer for then-experimental methadone therapy and was able to break his heroin habit. Rollins himself initially feared sobriety would impair his musicianship, but then went on to greater success. As a saxophonist he had initially been attracted to the jump and R&B sounds of performers like Louis Jordan, but soon became drawn into the mainstream tenor saxophone tradition. Joachim Berendt has described this tradition as sitting between the two poles of the strong sonority of Coleman Hawkins and the light flexible phrasing of Lester Young, which did so much to inspire the fleet improvisation of be-bop in the 1950s.

Rollins began to make a name for himself in 1949 as he recorded with J.J. Johnson and Bud Powell what would later be called "Hard Bop", with Miles Davis in 1951, with the Modern Jazz Quartet and with Thelonious Monk in 1953, but the breakthrough arrived in 1954 when he recorded his famous compositions "Oleo" "Airegin" and "Doxy" with a quintet led by Davis. Rollins then joined the Miles Davis Quintet in the summer of 1955, but left after a short stay to deal with his drug problems. Rollins was invited later in 1955 to join the Clifford Brown–Max Roach quintet; studio recordings documenting his time in the band are the albums Clifford Brown and Max Roach at Basin Street and Sonny Rollins Plus 4. After Brown's death in 1956 Rollins began his subsequent career as a leader, his first long-playing albums released on Prestige Records. He also recorded during the 1950s for Blue Note, Riverside, and the Los Angeles label Contemporary.

Saxophone Colossus is one of Sonny Rollins' most acclaimed albums. Recorded and released in 1956, it has been awarded a rare Crown by The Penguin Guide to Jazz, and is widely considered the masterpiece of his mid-1950s series of recordings for Prestige Records and one of the greatest albums ever issued on that label.

There are five tracks on the album, three of which are credited to Rollins. "St. Thomas" is a calypso-inspired piece named after Saint Thomas in the Virgin Islands. The tune is traditional and had already been recorded by Randy Weston in 1955 under the title "Fire Down There". In any case, the piece has since become a jazz standard, and this is its most famous recorded version.

"You Don't Know What Love Is" is a ballad standard by Don Raye and Gene DePaul, given a distinctively bleak treatment by Rollins. "Strode Rode" is an up-tempo hard bop number, notable for its staccato motif and for a brief, high-spirited duet between Rollins and Doug Watkins on bass. The tune is named after the Strode Hotel in Chicago, in tribute to the ill-fated trumpeter Freddie Webster, who died there.

The second side of the original LP consists of two longer cuts, both in B flat. "Moritat" is another standard, a song from Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera, better known in English as "Mack the Knife". The album's liner notes point out that the Brecht–Weill musical was enjoying a surge of popularity at the time of the recording. This version, full of mischief and foreboding, is probably closer to the original intent of its authors than some of the more frivolous covers recorded by other musicians. Rollins concludes the song by restating the melody followed by a short, soaring bit of ornamentation, backed by Watkins's bowed pedal tones.

Finally, "Blue 7" is a blues, over eleven minutes long. Its main, rather disjunct melody was spontaneously composed. The performance is among Rollins' most acclaimed, and is the subject of an article by Gunther Schuller entitled "Sonny Rollins and the Challenge of Thematic Improvisation". Schuller praises Rollins on "Blue 7" for the use of motivic development exploring and developing melodic themes throughout his three solos, so that the piece is unified, rather than being composed of unrelated ideas. Rollins also improvises using ideas and variations from the melody, which is based on the tritone interval, and strongly suggests bitonality (the melody by itself is harmonically ambiguous, simultaneously suggesting the keys of Bb and E). Also notable is Max Roach's solo, which uses a triplet rhythm figure later imitated by Rollins, again helping to give the piece a coherent feel.

The original 22 June 1956 session was recorded by Rudy Van Gelder. The album's title was devised by Prestige Records' in-house publicity director Bob Altshuler.

The Allmusic review by Scott Yanow calls the album "arguably his finest all-around set". Author and musician Peter Niklas Wilson called it "another milestone of the Rollins discography, a recording repeatedly cited as Rollins' chef d'oeuvre, and one of the classic jazz albums of all time”.

DCC Gold Discs are mastered from original master tapes played back on a reconstructed vintage tube reproducer. The discs are custom-manufactured and plated with 24-karat gold, and housed in a lift-lock jewel box. Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on June 22, 1956. Originally released on Prestige (7079). Includes liner notes by Ira Gitler. Digitally remastered by JVC using XRCD (Extended Resolution Compact Disc) technology, using 20-bit K2 Super Coding System technology. The year 1956 marked a turning point for Sonny Rollins. Out of the ashes of what had been a talented but troubled young tenor saxophonist, came a new Sonny Rollins, his purpose clarified and strengthened, his muse razor sharp and brimming with new visions. As a new member of the Clifford Brown/Max Roach Organization, he was inspired as much by their spiritual consistency as their artistic integrity. By his own admission, even as a jazz tadpole, Sonny Rollins possessed a brawny sound and a powerful rhythmic drive...but other elements were missing. With SAXOPHONE COLOSSUS, Sonny Rollins created a personal vision of the tenor saxophone and modern jazz brimming over with joy and conviction. SAXOPHONE COLOSSUS was a breakthrough recording, praised for its lyrical power, thematic logic, relentless swing and spontaneous invention. Borrowing a page from his West Indian roots, Rollins' "St. Thomas" employed elements of Caribbean folk melodies and calypso rhythms to create an exotic, dancing tenor anthem--one of the most identifiable, beloved themes in all of jazz--driven along by Max Roach's melodic drumming, Tommy Flannagan's shimmering accompaniment, and the saxophonist's swaggering melodic invention. Rollins displayed fresh harmonic power and innovative methods of thematic develpment throughout SAXOPHONE COLOSSUS. On the swinging starts and stops of "Strode Rode" and the dreamy blues cycles of "Blue 7," Rollins began his solos with simple melodic motifs, and orchestrated them into grand, elongated thematic statements--every note made meaningful by Rollins' extraordinary sense of development and intuitive musical architecture. In addition, his tenor timbre took on renewed vigor and complexity on  two ballads: "Moritat" (our old friend "Mack The Knife") and his epic reading of "You Don't Know What Love Is.”

Editorial Reviews - 4 stars out of 5 -- [A] masterwork of tenor saxophone improvisation that kicks off with the classic 'St Thomas'...Record Collector

Included in Vibe's 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century...Vibe (1999,12,01)

The title is not hyperbole....Important as some of his later work has been, the tenor saxophonist's levels of thematic development, assurance, humor and general creative force in SAXOPHONE COLOSSUS remain unequaled....this is an essential album....JazzTimes (1996,04,01)

Down Beat 5 Stars - Excellent ...Rollins displays humor, gentleness, a delicate feeling for beauty....I find this entire album excellent on all counts and for all persons concerned.

GOLD CD - DCC RECORDINGS // PRESTIGE series CD item - this item is FACTORY SEALED and in MINT condition
GOLD CD was made in Japan or the USA (can’t tell for certain until the Gold CD has been opened and physically checked)
GOLD CD pressing is in MONO
GOLD CD pressed and Issued by DCC RECORDINGS under license from PRESTIGE
GOLD CD issued in: 1995
GOLD CD Record Catalog Number: GZS 1082

Featured on this GOLD CD -

SONNY ROLLINS

Performers on this disc include -
Sonny Rollins — tenor saxophone
Tommy Flanagan — piano
Doug Watkins — bass
Max Roach — drums

GOLD CD Title -
SAXOPHONE COLOSSUS

Track Listings -
1. St. Thomas
2. You Don't Know What Love Is
3. Strode Rode
4. Moritat (Theme From "Threepenny Opera")
5. Blue 7

CONDITION Details:
The GOLD CD is from the very rare DCC Recordings series of audiophile CD titles.

GOLD CD re-mastered by Steve Hoffman
Pictures with this listing are of the actual item
Jewel Case IS the original flip up type
This item DOES come with the paper outer slip cover - it is complete and near perfect.
The original LP was issued on the PRESTIGE record label, in 1956

The GOLD CD, Jewel Case and INSERTS are all in MINT condition. The CD is actually FACTORY SEALED!!

The GOLD CD is an audiophile quality pressing (any collector of fine MFSL, half speeds, direct to discs, Japanese/UK pressings etc., can attest to the difference a quality pressing can make to an audio system).

Don't let this rarity slip by!!!

  • Item #: DCC GOLD CD GZS 1082 SS
  • Manufacturer: DCC - Digital Compact Classics Recordings
  • Condition: New

DCC GOLD CD GZS 1082: SONNY ROLLINS - Saxophone Colossus 1995 SS

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