Sonny Rollins chooses 10 must-hear tenor cuts
Yesterday we published the all-time top 50 tenor saxophone recordings as chosen by an elite group of artists and critics. Today we turn the floor over to Mr. Sonny Rollins, who knows a thing or two about tenor.
Coleman Hawkins: “The Man I Love”
A very exciting record: high musicality, extraordinary personnel, definitely a tenor saxophone gem.
Lester Young: “Afternoon of a Basie-ite”
It’s a perfect example of his lyricism, his nonpareil sense of swing. The great Lester Young—the man who influenced generations.
John Coltrane: “Giant Steps”
Establishing a new saxophone language.
Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis: “Lockjaw”
One of the most underrated and unique tenor players of any era.
Ben Webster: “Cotton Tail”
Also a trendsetter. His work cannot be
Dexter Gordon (with Dizzy Gillespie): “Blue ’n’ Boogie”
Dexter Gordon influenced so many of the younger tenor players who followed him.
Stan Getz (with Woody Herman): “Four Brothers”
Stan led in the popularity of the “white” tenor sound. And don’t forget Brew Moore.
Don Byas (with Dizzy Gillespie): “Be-Bop”
The saxophone wizard. He could play anything and everything on the horn with fluidity, authority and style.
Junior Walker: “Shotgun”
Junior exemplified the viability of the tenor in soul, pop and rock.
Grover Washington Jr.: “Mister Magic”
Grover, one of my favorites, spearheaded the soul-jazz movement.
Originally published in June 2012