Top Artists – Sonny Rollins

Sonny Rollins – The Bridge

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The Bridge

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

We found STUNNING sound for Sonny Rollins’ classic LP The Bridge this week, and as you might have guessed from the image to the left, it wasn’t on an original pressing! It’s beyond tough to find copies of this album on any label these days, but we had a big stack of pressings from different eras and auditioned them in a big shootout. We’ve paired up our best side one with our best side two to create this killer White Hot Stamper 2-pack.  (more…)

Sonny Rollins – Sound of Sonny – Reviewed in 2007

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Sound of Sonny

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Riverside White and Blue original 2 Mic Label Mono LP. Side one sounds like a typical old Riverside jazz record, but side two sounds EXCELLENT! I don’t know when I’ve heard an early Sonny Rollins record sound better. His horn is really full-bodied and dynamic and has amazing IMMEDIACY on some tracks. It makes side one sound sick in comparison. (more…)

Sonny Rollins & Coleman Hawkins – Sonny Meets Hawk – Great in Stereo

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Sonny Meets Hawk

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This is a TOP SHELF pressing, one of the most exciting jazz records we’ve heard in some time! We dropped the needle on side one of this RCA stereo pressing and were FLOORED. After evaluating it completely and awarding it our top grade of A+++, we flipped and were blown away to find that side two was every bit as good. And to top it all off, the vinyl plays quietly throughout. 

Think about this — due to the nature of our business we play tons of jazz vinyl every week, multiple pressings of multiple albums. And this record completely knocked us out.

If you’re a fan of classic jazz and superb sound, wouldn’t you like to hear what this one does on your system? (more…)

Sonny Rollins & Coleman Hawkins – Sonny Meets Hawk – Great in Mono

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Sonny Meets Hawk

WONDERFUL SOUND AND MUSIC! It is ridiculously tough to find copies of this album with good sound and quiet surfaces, but this pressing is a MONSTER. We’re generally not big fans of Mono recordings, but for this music it is really doing the job. It gives you mindblowing presence to the brass and real weight to the bottom end. 

Side one is KILLER. I don’t know what you could do to this music to make it sound any better than it does here. It’s super transparent with BIG TIME immediacy. The brass is rich and full with lots of breath, and the bass is DEEP and TIGHT. Listen to how silky sweet the top end sounds; the cymbals are Right On The Money.

Side two is excellent as well, but lacks a slight degree of extension up top. The presence and immediacy are EXCELLENT. (more…)

Sonny Rollins – Alfie (Original Music From The Score)

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Alfie

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

A stunning Triple Triple Plus (A+++) pressing that is sure to beat any Sonny Rollins record you own (for sound anyway). Even though I’ve been playing this album for more than 25 years, for some reason this is the first truly killer copy to ever hit the site. A triumph for Rudy Van Gelder, a Top Impulse title, and as much a showcase for Oliver Nelson (+11) as it is for Sonny Rollins. 

This album is on the TAS Superdisc list, which is probably what first alerted me to it. I know I was listening to this album 25 years ago, just from the memory of hearing it in the condo I used to live in. It sounded great back then and it sounds even better now! You will have a hard time finding a better Sonny Rollins record, sonically or musically. It may just be my personal favorite of all his work.

Great players of course. Kenny Burrell is wonderful as always. Interestingly I never realized that Roger Kellaway is the pianist on these sessions. I saw him live years ago with Benny Carter (who was 90 at the time) and he put on one of the most amazing performances at the piano I have ever seen. For some reason he was never able to make it as a recording artist, but the guy is a genius at the keyboard.

Of course any orchestration by Oliver Nelson is going to be top flight and this is no exception. Two of his records are Must Owns in my book: Jimmy Smith’s Bashin’ and his own The Blues and the Abstract Truth. No jazz collection without them can be taken seriously.

For audiophiles who are looking for one of the best sounding jazz recordings ever made, this is it. (more…)

Sonny Rollins – The Bridge

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The Bridge

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  • With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this was one of the better copies we played in our recent shootout
  • The 1962 sound is wonderfully Tubey Magical, full-bodied and solid, the bass note-like and clear
  • The brilliant Ray Hall was able to engineer this Demo Disc quality recording using nothing but tubes back in 1962, and it’s glorious to hear that sound in 2019 on modern hi-rez equipment
  • 4 1/2 stars: “The interplay between Rollins and Jim Hall [on guitar] is consistently impressive, making this a near-classic and a very successful comeback.”

For us audiophiles both the sound and the music here are wonderful. If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good an 1962 All Tube Analog recording can be, this killer copy will do the trick. (more…)

Sonny Rollins – On Impulse

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On Impulse

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  • Superb Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish on this outstanding copy of Sonny’s Impulse! label debut
  • Some of the best Sonny Rollins sax sound we’ve heard – both sides are super big, full and lively with a huge bottom end
  • 4 stars: “This date is significant for the manner in which Rollins attacks five standards with a quartet that included pianist Ray Bryant, bassist Walter Booker and drummer Mickey Roker.”

(more…)

Sonny Rollins – Now’s The Time

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  • A superb sounding copy with Double Plus (A++) sound or better throughout
  • Both sides here are super rich, Tubey Magical and present with plenty of energy
  • Features performances by Rollins with Herbie Hancock, Thad Jones, Ron Carter, Bob Cranshaw and Roy McCurdy on several bebop tunes

This vintage RCA pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound. (more…)

Sonny Rollins & Coleman Hawkins – Sonny Meets Hawk

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  • With a Triple Plus (A+++) shootout winning side one and a Double Plus (A++) side two, this copy is practically as good as it gets
  • Exceptionally big, rich and Tubey Magical, here is the natural tonality that’s a hallmark of Living Stereo in 1963
  • Amazing music from two saxophone masters on one of the most exciting jazz records we’ve heard in some time
  • 4 stars: “Coleman Hawkins and Sonny Rollins each virtually defined the tenor saxophone for his respective generation. To hear the two of them interacting freely is a deliciously exciting experience. Hawkins is able to cut loose like never before. “

For us audiophiles both the sound and the music here are enchanting. If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good 1963 All Tube Analog sound can be, this copy will do the trick. (more…)

Sonny Rollins – The Standard Sonny Rollins

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The Standard Sonny Rollins

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  • This superb original stereo pressing of The Standard Sonny Rollins from 1965 boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
  • Once again the brilliant engineering of Ray Hall for RCA conveys the vitality of live music for these sessions (which were undoubtedly recorded live)
  • Includes superstars like Herbie Hancock, Jim Hall, and Bob Cranshaw, who’ve lent their talents to some of the greatest jazz recordings of all time
  • Allmusic user rating: 4 stars – “Like The Sound Of Sonny some eight years ago, here’s another classic standard album from The Saxophone Colossus that will remain as bright and timeless as ever.”

This original stereo RCA pressing from 1965 has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock, and the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound. (more…)