Sonny Rollins

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Sonny Rollins
By John Abbott
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Sonny Rollins
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Sonny Rollins
By John Abbott
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Sonny Rollins
By John Abbott
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Sonny Rollins
By John Abbott
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Sonny Rollins
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Sonny Rollins
By Phil Bray
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Sonny Rollins
By John Abbott
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Sonny Rollins with Coleman Hawkins at Newport, 1963
By Lee Tanner
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Sonny Rollins
By Phil Bray
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Sonny Rollins and Sue Mingus in the Mingus home
By Sue Mingus
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Charles Mingus at home with Sonny Rollins
By Sue Mingus
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Backstage during the Milestone Jazzstars tour in San Francisco, 1978. Front row, L to R: McCoy Tyner, Sonny Rollins, Ron Carter. Back row, L to R: Producer Orrin Keepnews, record exec Ralph Kaffel, Al Foster, promoter Bill Graham.
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Sonny Rollins at the 2007 Vancouver International Jazz Festival
By Chris Cameron
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Lucille and Sonny Rollins
By John Abbott
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Christian dropped to the floor and said, "I'm doing a hip-hop pose." Sonny and Roy loved it.
By John Abbott
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Sonny and Christian during the concert performance of "Sonnymoon for Two"
By John Abbott
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This was the sound check of a lifetime, and I was thrilled to be there.
By John Abbott
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I witnessed a 20-minute musical conversation between Sonny and Christian during a rehearsal three days before the concert.
By John Abbott
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Running through "Mack the Knife"
By John Abbott
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After jamming together for the first time as a trio, the three musicians swapped stories about songs, composers and old friends.
By John Abbott
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Sonny listens to the sound of his tenor in an empty Carnegie Hall.
By John Abbott
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Sonny Rollins
By Phil Bray
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Sonny Rollins, Williamsburg Bridge, New York, 2005
By Jimmy Katz
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Sonny Rollins talks with New England Conservatory's Jazz Studies and Improvisation Department Chair Ken Schaphorst
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Newk meets Newk; Don Newcombe with Sonny Rollins
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Sonny Rollins
By Steve Maruta
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From Ken Burns' Jazz: Sonny Rollins and a new avant-garde movement appear in Episode 9 ("The Adventure," 1956-1961)
By Lee Tanner
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illustration of Sonny Rollins
By Johanna Goodman
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John Abbott, Sonny Rollins, 1995
By John Abbott
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Sonny Rollins at Damrosch Park, NY 1998
By Andrew Lepley
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Sonny Rollins, New York City 1998
By Jimmy Katz
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Sonny Rollins
By Jimmy Katz
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Sonny Rollins
By Jimmy Katz
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Sonny Rollins
By Jimmy Katz
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Sonny Rollins
By Jimmy Katz
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Sonny Rollins
By Jamie-James Medina
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Sonny Rollins
By Jan Persson
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Sonny Rollins
By John Abbott
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Saxophone Colossus book cover
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Sonny Rollins and Bob Cranshaw at the Molde Jazz Festival in Norway
By Larry Appelbaum
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Sonny Rollins by John Abbott
By John Abbott
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Sonny Rollins by John Abbott
By John Abbott
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Left to right: Medalist Sonny Rollins, presentation speaker Gary Giddins, and Donna MacNeil (wife of Robert MacNeil) enjoy a picnic lunch after the Medal Day award ceremony.
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Sonny Rollins accepts 2010 Edward MacDowell Medal at The MacDowell Colony on Sunday, August 15th. Photo by Joanna Eldredge Morrissey/Courtesy of The MacDowell Colony.
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Left to right: MacDowell Chairman Robert MacNeil, Medalist Sonny Rollins, presentation speaker and jazz critic Gary Giddins, MacDowell President Susan Davenport Austin, and MacDowell Executive Director Cheryl Young. Photo by Joanna Eldredge Morrissey
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MacDowell Colony Chairman Robert MacNeil and 2010 Edward MacDowell Medalist Sonny Rollins. Photo by Joanna Eldredge Morrissey/Courtesy of The MacDowell Colony.
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Sonny Rollins signs an autograph for a fan after receiving the 2010 Edward MacDowell Medal at The MacDowell Colony. Photo by Joanna Eldredge Morrissey/Courtesy of The MacDowell Colony.
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John Abbott, Bob Blumenthal and Sonny Rollins at Saxophone Colossus book signing in NYC
By Norm Harris
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John Abbott, Bob Blumenthal and Sonny Rollins at Saxophone Colossus book signing in NYC
By Norm Harris
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Saxophonist J.D. Allen greets Sonny Rollins and John Abbott at Saxophone Colossus book signing in NYC
By Norm Harris
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John Abbott and Sonny Rollins at Saxophone Colossus book signing in NYC
By Norm Harris
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John Abbott and Sonny Rollins at Saxophone Colossus book signing in NYC
By Norm Harris
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Bob Blumenthal, Amy Franklin, Sonny Rollins and John Abbott at Saxophone Colossus book signing in NYC
By Norm Harris
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Bob Blumenthal, Peter Downey, John Abbott, Terri Hinte, Sonny Rollins and Robin Abbott at Saxophone Colossus book signing in NYC
By Norm Harris
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Sonny Rollins at Saxophone Colossus book signing in NYC
By Lena Adasheva
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Bob Blumenthal at Saxophone Colossus book signing in NYC
By Norm Harris
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John Abbott, Sonny Rollins and Bob Blumenthal at Saxophone Colossus book signing in NYC
By Jim Levine
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Christian McBride, Roy Haynes and Sonny Rollins in performance at Beacon Theatre
By Jim Eigo
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Ornette Coleman with Roy Haynes and Sonny Rollins in performance at Beacon Theatre
By Jim Eigo
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Ornette Coleman with Sonny Rollins in performance at Beacon Theatre
By Jim Eigo
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Roy Hargrove and Sonny Rollins in performance at Beacon Theatre
By Jim Eigo
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Sonny Rollins receives the 2010 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama at an East Room ceremony at the White House on March 2, 2011.
By Ruth David
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Sonny Rollins in Norway
By Larry Appelbaum
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Christian McBride, Roy Haynes, Bret Primack and Sonny Rollins
By John Abbott
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Ornette Coleman with Sonny Rollins
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Sonny Rollins with Tavis Smiley
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Sonny Rollins with Tavis Smiley
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Sonny Rollins with Bob Cranshaw in performance at 2011 Monterey Jazz Festival
By Stuart Brinin
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Sonny Rollins
By John Abbott
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Sonny Rollins at the 2012 Jacksonville Jazz Festival
By Gary Braisted
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at the 2012 Jacksonville Jazz Festival
By Gary Braisted
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Sonny Rollins performing at the 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival
By Marek Lazarski
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Sonny Rollins performing at the 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival
By Marek Lazarski
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Sonny Rollins performing at the 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival
By Marek Lazarski
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Sonny Rollins signing autographs after performane at the 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival
By Marek Lazarski
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Sonny Rollins meeting young fans after performance at the 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival
By Marek Lazarski
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Sonny Rollins in performance at the 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival
By Stuart Brinin
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Sonny Rollins in performance at the 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival
By Stuart Brinin

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One of the greatest tenor-saxophonists of all time, Sonny Rollins ranks at the top along with Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young and John Coltrane. Rollins has been a jazz giant for 60 years and is always capable of playing marathon solos full of constant creative invention. Born in New York City in 1930, he started on piano, switched to alto and permanently settled on the tenor in 1946. Rollins caught the tail-end of the bebop era. He made his recording debut with singer Babs Gonzalez in 1949 and then held his own on important sessions with J.J. Johnson and Bud Powell (opposite Fats Navarro) later that year. Miles Davis noticed Rollins early on, always considered him one of his favorite saxophonists, and used him whenever he could, including on several significant record dates in the 1950s. Rollins also recorded with Thelonious Monk in 1953. He spent his first period outside of music, retooling himself before returning to join the Clifford Brown-Max Roach Quintet in late 1955. He stayed with Roach’s group until 1957 and was a leader from then on. The 1955-58 period found Rollins recording one classic after another for such labels as Prestige, Riverside, Blue Note and Contemporary. He introduced such future jazz standards during the 1950s as “St. Thomas,” “Doxy,” “Airegin” and “Oleo,” matched wits with John Coltrane on “Tenor Madness,” recorded with Monk (Brilliant Corners) and Dizzy Gillespie, and created such brilliant albums as A Night at the Village Vanguard, Saxophone Colossus, Way Out West, Freedom Suite and Sonny Rollins and the Contemporary Leaders. It was a shock when Rollins decided to drop out of music in 1959, but when he returned in 1961, leading a pianoless quartet with Jim Hall and recording The Bridge, he was still at his peak. During the 1960s, Rollins’ recordings for RCA and Impulse tended to be freer than before and he was well aware of Ornette Coleman’s innovations, sometimes using some of Coleman’s sidemen in his own group. He retired for a third time in 1968, returning in 1971. Rollins adopted a grittier tone, recorded many albums for Milestone and most recently his Doxy label, and has maintained his position as one of jazz’s greatest improvisers.

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Artist’s website

Articles on Sonny Rollins

07/21/14    Albums    By Thomas Conrad

Road Shows, Volume 3
Sonny Rollins

09/11/12    Features    By Josef Woodard

Five Years Beyond: Musicians Reflect on 9/11

09/03/12    Photos    By Marek Lazarski

Photos from the 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival

06/13/12    Concerts    By Gigi Brooks

2012 Jacksonville Jazz Festival: Rising Above the Storm

01/27/12    Jazz a la Mode    By Tom Reney

Bravo Sonny Rollins, Boo the Kennedy Center

01/13/12    JT Notes    By Evan Haga

JT's Editor Introduces the Jan.-Feb. 2012 Issue

12/21/11    News    By Jeff Tamarkin

Kennedy Center Honors with Sonny Rollins to be Broadcast Dec. 27

12/05/11    News    By Lee Mergner

Sonny Rollins Honored by Kennedy Center and President Obama

09/23/11    Concerts    By Josef Woodard

Monterey Jazz Festival 2011

09/07/11    Albums    By Thomas Conrad

Sonny Rollins' Road Shows, Vol. 2

09/07/11    Albums    By Thomas Conrad

Sonny Rollins' Road Shows, Vol. 2

07/23/11    Interviews with Cornelius Myers    By Cornelius Myers

Sonny Rollins: Ideas Are Important

07/14/11    Concerts    By Michael J. West

Copenhagen Jazz Festival 2011

07/05/11    News    By Jeff Tamarkin

Classic Impulse! Jazz Albums to be Reissued

06/17/11    Jazz Video Guy    By Bret Primack

Sonny Rollins: Getting It Back Together

06/12/11    News    By Lee Mergner

Jazz Journalists Association Presents Annual Awards in NYC

06/07/11    Before & After    By Larry Appelbaum

Sonny Rollins: The Gentle, Humble Jazz Giant

05/26/11    Jazz Video Guy    By Bret Primack

Miles Davis 1971: To Wah Wah or Not to Wah Wah

04/01/11    Jazz Video Guy    By Bret Primack

Sonny Rollins: Gettin' It Back Together

03/02/11    Franckling's JazzNotes    By Ken Franckling

Sonny Rollins Honored Again

01/24/11    News    By Lee Mergner

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Announces Lineup

December 2010    Books    By Jeff Tamarkin

Saxophone Colossus: A Portrait of Sonny Rollins
Text by Bob Blumenthal, Photos by John Abbott

10/15/10    News    By Lee Mergner

Concord Reissues More Albums from Fantasy/Prestige Catalog

09/18/10    News    By JazzTimes

Sonny Rollins Appears at Book Signing in NYC

08/23/10    News    By Lee Mergner

Sonny Rollins Receives 2010 Edward MacDowell Medal

07/20/10    News    By Lee Mergner

Sonny Rollins to Celebrate 80th Birthday with Concert in NYC

05/21/10    Tangents    By Lee Mergner

Summer Jazz Reading

05/04/10    Franckling's JazzNotes    By Ken Franckling

Montreal Jazz Fest Still at Top of its Game

03/03/10    News    By Lee Mergner

Sonny Rollins Named 2010 Edward MacDowell Medalist

12/02/09    News    By Aubrey Everett

Sonny Rollins Performing Concert to Benefit Hudson River Preservation

May 2009    DVDs    By Mike Joyce

Sonny Rollins: Saxophone Colossus

April 2009    Features    By Thomas Conrad

Stolen Moments

April 2009    JT Notes    By Jeff Tamarkin

Notes From Underground

January/February 2009    DVDs    By Jeff Tamarkin

In Vienne
Sonny Rollins

January/February 2009    DVDs    By Colin Fleming

Jazz Icons Releases a Thrid Volume of Vintage Live Performances

December 2008    Albums    By Steve Greenlee

Road Shows, Vol. 1
Sonny Rollins

Advertising    By JazzTimes

September 2010 Editorial and Advertising Highlights

October 2008    Cadenza    By Gary Giddins

Summer Nights

08/05/08    Concerts    By Thomas Conrad

Umbria Jazz '08

September 2007    Final Chorus    By Nat Hentoff

Bridging Generations

07/17/07    Concerts    By Josef Woodard

Umbria Jazz 08

07/03/07    Concerts    By Larry Appelbaum

TD Canada Trust Vancouver International Jazz Festival

March 2007    Farewells    By Sonny Rollins

Jackie McLean

March 2007    Features    By

Farewells: Musicians Remember Their Peers Who Passed in 2006

January/February 2007    Albums    By Chris Kelsey

Sonny, Please
Sonny Rollins

January/February 2007    JT Notes    By Lee Mergner

It's How You Finish That Counts

May 2006    News    By Michael Kabran

Granny Grammys: The Old Guard Won Again

March 2006    News    By Ashley Kahn

Sonny Stitt and Sonny Rollins: Tales of Two Sonnys

January/February 2006    Cadenza    By Gary Giddins

Always Sonny

January/February 2006    Top 50 CDs of 2005    By

Without a Song (The 9/11 Concert)
Sonny Rollins

January/February 2006    Top 50 CDs of 2005    By

Without a Song (The 9/11 Concert)
Sonny Rollins

October 2005    Albums    By Thomas Conrad

Without a Song (The 9/11 Concert)
Sonny Rollins

October 2005    Albums    By Thomas Conrad

Without a Song (The 9/11 Concert)
Sonny Rollins

September 2005    Features    By

50 LPs from 35 Years of JazzTimes, Part III

June 2005    Features    By Joshua Redman

Sonny Rollins Interviewed by Joshua Redman: Newk's Time

June 2005    JT Notes    By Christopher Porter

Tenor Madness

December 2003    Features    By Brad Mehldau

Brad Mehldau: Ideology, Burgers and Beer

June 2003    Cadenza    By Gary Giddins

Bypassing Byas No More

May 2003    Albums    By Thomas Conrad

Way Out West (SACD)
Sonny Rollins

January/February 2003    Cadenza    By Gary Giddins

I Remember Chirpy

November 2001    JT Notes    By Christopher Porter

Sonny Rollins Soothes a World of Hurt

July/August 2001    News    By Michael J. Renner

Swinging for the Fences

January/February 2001    Albums    By Doug Ramsey

This Is What I Do
Sonny Rollins

July/August 2000    Books    By John Murph

Open Sky: Sonny Rollins and His World of Improvisation
Eric Nisenson

June 2000    Albums    By Duck Baker

The Freelance Years: The Complete Riverside and Contemporary Recordings
Sonny Rollins

November 1999    Albums    By Duck Baker

Sonny Meets Hawk
Sonny Rollins/Coleman Hawkins

November 1999    Albums    By Duck Baker

Sonny Meets Hawk
Sonny Rollins/Coleman Hawkins

October 1999    Features    By

Mama Mea Culpa: The Critics Eat Their Words

December 1998    Photos    By Lee Tanner

Indelible Images 5

June 1998    Features    By Bret Primack

Sonny Rollins: Summoning the Muse

September 1997    Albums    By Harvey Pekar

On Impulse
Sonny Rollins

May 1997    Albums    By Neil Tesser

The Sound of Sonny
Sonny Rollins

March 1997    Albums    By Jack Sohmer

Silver City
Sonny Rollins

Albums

Silver City

Milestone

The Sound of Sonny

DCC
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On Impulse

Impulse!
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Alfie

Impulse!
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Sonny Meets Hawk

RCA Victor
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This Is What I Do

Milestone
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The Freelance Years: The Complete Riverside and Contemporary Recordings

Riverside

Ballads

Blue Note Records
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Way Out West (SACD)

Analogue Productions

The Bridge

Bluebird

Saxophone Colossus

Concord Records

Sonny Rollins: The Very Best

Blue Bamboo Music
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Without a Song (The 9/11 Concert)

Milestone

The Essential Sonny Rollins: The RCA Years

RCA/Legacy

Rudy Van Gelder Remasters: Saxophone Colossus

Prestige
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Sonny, Please

Doxy
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Road Shows, Vol. 1

Doxy
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Road Shows, Vol. 2

Doxy
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