Sunday, July 03, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Sonny Rollins

Artist:Sonny Rollins f/John Coltrane
Song:Tenor Madness
Album:Jazz Showcase

Tenor Madness is one of tenor sax legend Sonny Rollins' most significant compositions. It has become a jazz standard since Rollins recorded it in 1956. But it's also significant because it's the only time Rollins recorded with another sax legend John Coltrane. Of course they knew each other and both guys were under contract to Prestige Records. But somehow Prestige owner Bob Weinstock only managed to have the two record one song together. Coltrane does not appear on the rest of the 1956 album Tenor Madness. After spending a couple of years in jail for armed robbery in the early 50s, Rollins recovered from his drug addiction in 1955. Before that he was in The Miles Davis Quintet for a brief time. It doesn't look like he recorded with that band. After rehab, Rollins joined The Clifford Brown-Max Roach Quintet and Coltrane replaced Rollins in the Davis band. Well, we all know how successful that was. After Brown and pianist Richie Powell died in a June 1956 car crash, Rollins began to record more as a leader. Tenor Madness was his first album of this very productive period for Rollins. The band on Tenor Madness is The Miles Davis Quintet minus Davis. It's Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums. These guys along with Coltrane had just finished recording sessions with Davis at Rudy Van Gelder's studio in New Jersey. Weinstock asked them if they would come back in a couple of weeks and record with Rollins. So they appear on the entire album but Coltrane only appeared on the song Tenor Madness. At the time, Coltrane was struggling with heroin addiction so he might have been ill or in and out of rehab at the time. Of course it's a classic with the dueling saxes. But Coltrane left Prestige so they never recorded together again. The album Tenor Madness is available as a budget CD. But because Coltrane is only on the one song, I think it's a good way to sample Rollins' Prestige recordings at a budget price. Concord now owns the Prestige recordings and this budget CD Jazz Showcase is part of a series. It's a great and inexpensive intro to Rollins. And Tenor Madness is a significant piece of jazz history. Here's a video for Tenor Madness by Sonny Rollins featuring John Coltrane.

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