Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Newk’s Picks

Sonny Rollins chooses 10 must-hear tenor cuts

Grover Washington Jr.
Ben Webster and Harry Edison, New York 1962

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

overlooked. Important.

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