Artist: Sonny Rollins
Album: Tenor Madness
Genre: Jazz, Hard Bop
01. Tenor Madness
02. When Your Lover Has Gone
03. Paul’s Pal
04. My Reverie
05. The Most Beautiful Girl In the World
Tenor Madness was officially the recording that established Sonny Rollins as 1 of jazz’s elite tenor saxophonists & it stands alongside Saxophone Collossus as 1 of his masterworks. The fact that he enlists the talents of Miles Davis’ then rhythm section of Red Garland (piano), Paul Chambers (bass) & Philly Joe Jones for the date certainly doesn’t hurt matters either. John Coltrane, who was also in Davis’ group at the time, is notably featured here on the legendary title track, his only recording with Rollins.
Tenor Madness was the recording that, once & for all, established Rollins as 1 of the premier tenor saxophonists, an accolade that in retrospect, has continued through 6 full decades & gives an indication why as a young player, Rollins was so well liked, as his fluency, whimsical nature, & solid construct of melodies & solos gave him the title of the next Coleman Hawkins or Lester Young of mainstream jazz.
Rollins & John Coltrane met in 1956 & went on to largely define the state of jazz tenor saxophone in the mid-50s. Their playing set a standard that has been a benchmark of excellence for saxophonists—& others—ever since. By the time this LP was released, Rollins already had such albums to his name as Worktime & Sonny Rollins Plus 4 in addition to his sideman exploits with the Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet.
As well as the celebrated title track, Tenor Madness includes an intriguing original, “Paul’s Pal,” & the mining of unusual material such as “My Reverie,” & “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World.”
“Coltrane’s fearlessness is front & centre as he takes the 1st solo, firing flurries & fusillades from the high end of his tenor sax. He is definitely on his game for the time. He’s a willing teammate as he trades 4s with Rollins on an ending dialogue where the 2 players happily finish each other’s thoughts… Rollins shows his romantic-ballad side on ‘When Your Lover Has Gone’ & ‘My Reverie’, gets playful on ‘Paul’s Pal’ (his tribute to bassist Paul Chambers), & upends Rodgers & Hart’s ‘The Most Beautiful Girl In The World’ when he switches mid-stream from a waltz to a fast 4/4… It’s a given that John Coltrane was a miraculous player; his cameo here shows how far he went to become that way.”
Sonny Rollins (tenor saxophone)
John Coltrane (tenor saxophone)
Red Garland (piano)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Philly Joe Jones (drums)