Theodore Walter “Sonny” Rollins (born September 7, 1930 in New York City) is an American Grammy-winning jazz tenor saxophonist. Rollins is extensively known as one of the most significant and prominent jazz musicians. A number of his masterpieces, including Doxy, Airegin, St. Thomas and Oleo, have become jazz standards (Palmer, 55).
Palmer (72) stipulates that Rollins began as a pianist, altered to alto saxophone, and at last moved to tenor in 1946. As a saxophonist he had originally been fascinated to the jump and R&B style of entertainers like Louis Jordan, but shortly became attracted into the mainstream tenor saxophone convention. Joachim Berendt has depicted this tradition as being amid the two poles of the mighty sonority of Coleman Hawkins and the light lithe phrasing of Lester Young; Rollins pulled the two threads together as a fluid post-bop improviser with reverberance as strong and resounding as any since Hawkins himself.
In 1957 he initiated the application of bass and drums (exclusive of piano) as complement for his saxophone solos. This touch came to be identified as “strolling”. Rollins uses the trio design occasionally all through his career, at times taking the odd step of using his sax as a rhythm section tool in bass and drum solos (Wilson, 70). By this time, Rollins had grown to be well-known for taking moderately prosaic or alternative and turning it into a vehicle for invention.
For Sonny Rollins where is better to start than his rendition of a calypso sung to children in the Caribbean. “St. Thomas” is the beginning track on Rollins’1956 album, Saxophone Colossus. At the beginning, Max Roach sets the correct feeling with a drum line that is so blissful and brief; it couldn’t have been made out of wherever but the Caribbean. An appropriate opening for Mr. Rollins, who then come in energetically twice trumpeting the key theme from his tenor sax, the top is simple, perhaps juvenile, at least pleasingly, but Rollins makes it reflective. In fact I would dispute that he is the unequaled master of making inconsequential melodies significant. Certainly his unique tone and persuasive rhythmic plays assist exalt these childish melodies but I believe it is something more. After all, Rollins can use a single note for a whole chorus and make it sound damn good. Maybe the simpler melodies separate the more composite variables of melodic sequence and note choice, and in its place showcase Rollins’ feelings. The man discharges his heart into and out of his horn, and it might just be easier to hear when he does it through simpler melodies.
Pursuing the blend of sentiment, reminiscence, contemplation, and artistic design with a command that permits him to attain natural grandiloquence, with its brass trunk, its pearl-button keys, and its cane reed, mouthpiece, the horn transforms into the vessel for the epic of Rollins’ aptitude and the undimmed control and wisdom of his jazz ancestors.”
Rollins is familiar to many for the extent and eminence of his career, one not easily rivaled in the world of jazz or other genres. His melodious sensibilities, performing style and solos have also influenced numerous generations of musicians.
Stan Getz on the other hand, was an American jazz tenor saxophone performer. Getz was branded as “The Sound” as of his warm, poetic tone, his key influence being the flimsy, mellow resonance of his idol, Lester Young (Maggin, 62).
Getz is portrayed by critics as “One of the greatest tenor saxophonists.” Getz is best acknowledged for popularizing the bossa nova, as in the wide-reaching hit single “The Girl from Ipanema” (1964). His tenor saxophone was the Selmer Mark VI (Maggin, 70). On previous recordings he had engaged a White Plastic Brilhart Tonalin mouthpiece
“This 1981 disc grasps Getz entering his final phase, setting fusion and bossa mainly after him & focusing on making beautiful music out of the conventional tenor-plus-rhythm quartet (Murrells, 167).” The title-track is a melody by Brazillian creator Luiz Eca, set in a relaxed (almost 10-minute) reading. The thorough, under documented pianist Lou Levy plays wonderfully all through the track, there’s brilliant prop up from bassist Monty Budwig & drummer Victor Lewis, & Getz’s plentiful sound is well trapped by the very fine live recording.
According to Murrells (147), “The Dolphin” was recorded at the Keystone Korner, a little club in San Francisco, which effected in one of Getz’ best live records. The intimate ambiance of the club and the additional benefit of a well prepared, highly inventive quartet at his side let Getz shine on the tune. “The Dolphin” is the foreseeable aide memoire of his Bossa Nova time, but it sounds as fresh and energetic as if Getz had started his love affair with Brazilian music just yesterday. Pianist Levy, Lou who had worked with Getz for over 30 years when they completed the record, is one of the finest pianists Getz ever had, and I was completely fascinated by his solo on “The Dolphin”. Let’s say that it will be greatly hard to dislike them. A fine record for whichever occasion, but if you occur to have a beach and cool drink at hand, sit down and relax with a splendid record of an artist who “believes in the power of beauty, rather than beauty in power”, as Leonard Feather put it.