Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Complete Prestige Recordings
Genres: Jazz, Pop
This 7 CD set traces the rise of tenor saxophone giant Sonny Rollins from a talented neophyte with a big beat and a big sound, to one of the most commanding melodic and rhythmic innovators of the 1950s. Inspired by R&B/Blu... more »
This 7 CD set traces the rise of tenor saxophone giant Sonny Rollins from a talented neophyte with a big beat and a big sound, to one of the most commanding melodic and rhythmic innovators of the 1950s. Inspired by R&B/Blues master Louis Jordan, Rollins soon fell under the spell of tenor saxophone trendsetters Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young, gravitating to the enormous sound of the latter, and the spacious phrasing of the other. And finally, there was the grand rhythmic/harmonic mastery of Charlie Parker, Bud Powell and (especially) his elder Thelonious Monk and contemporary Miles Davis. You can hear an earnest, inexperienced but shockingly self-composed Rollins navigate the brisk boppish environment of Davis's "Conception" on disc 1, while demonstrating his West Indian rhythmic roots ("Mambo Bounce") and dry bluesy humor ("Shaddrack") on disc 2. But by disc 3's sessions with Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk in 1953-54, Rollins is improvising with spacious, magisterial authority and composing three jazz standards ("Airegin," "Oleo" and "Doxy") for Davis, while proving the perfect rhythmic humorist and melodic foil for Monk on "Friday The 13th." By the time of his collaboration with trumpet master Clifford Brown and drummer Max Roach on "Pent-Up House," Rollins had achieved a comprable level of technical and emotional mastery, but he hit a conceptual peak on his calypso hit "St. Thomas" and "Blue 7," where his mastery of melodic riffs and thematic motifs set an artistic standard that remains imposing-even for Rollins-some 40 years later. --Chip Stern
A Retrospective of Perfection in Music
Fionn McGuire | Dublin, Ireland | 05/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've decided to re-write my original review to compensate for the time required to get to know this set a little better. Since it's a 7CD set, a more conclusive review is appropriate.
Firstly, it's impossible to fault the music on this set. If you're considering buying this, you're 99% likely to be familiar with Rollins already. It covers a vast range of Rollins Prestige recordings (not complete though) from his albums as a leader, and his work with others such as Miles and Monk. The earlier recordings can sound a small bit thin, but not to an extent that steals enjoyment. The set covers a vast chunk of Rollins, and one of his most creative periods. In terms of getting all this material in one place without spending a tonne on the discs individually (yeah, this set isnt cheap either), there's not really any option but to get this one.
Secondly, the track order is a bit problematic sometimes. There's quite a bit of the set that's not in the correct order in terms of recordings and recording dates, but this shouldnt be a problem. You can decide for yourself whether it gives you an easier avenue to explore the larger scale of the music or whether it ruins the flow (I believe box sets should occasionally have that quality too...).
This is an excellent set of recordings, and not a penny/cent will be regretted."
Great tunes by one of the greatest
Benjamin Walters | SF, CA | 08/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 7 disc set covers all the recordings Sonny Rollins made for Prestige(either under other leaders or for his own albums) from '49 to '56, but the bulk of it is the last 3 years. While his style and sound might arguably not have shone as brightly as in the companion "Freelance Years" set - albums like "Way Out West", or "Freedom Suite" for example, there is a wealth of material here that should satisfy all but hardcore Rollins fans. You also get the chance to hear Sonny blow with others who would go on to be legends themselves - Miles, MJQ, Monk, Coltrane, Blakey, Brownie's Trio - even Bird on tenor!
The thing is though, is that this set came out in '92, and it's pretty dated. Prestige has recently begun revamping comparable sets by boxing up only the leader's sessions and so forth. So it will be interesting to see what they do with this. Reducing the packaging would be a nice step. Keep the copious notes, but lose half the box and turn the quad disc cases into slimlines. Other than that, Sonny swings!"
A LOT of good stuff.
John | 03/02/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Rollins is undebatably a saxophone master, and this set captures most of his greatest recorded moments, but you probably need to be a Rollins fanatic (like myself) to make it worth the $80 somethin. You can get almost as much from buying two or three specific cds at a lesser cost. But, if you like him that much and have time to listen to 7 cds worth of music, go ahead and buy it. You will not be dissapointed."