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Recorded: October 5, 1956

Rating: 4.750 (average of 6 ratings)

Genre: jazz > bebop

Quotable: --

Album Tracks:

  1. St. Thomas
  2. You Don’t Know What Love Is
  3. Strode Rode
  4. Moritat
  5. Blue 7


sales in U.S. only --
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated --


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart --
peak on U.K. album chart --

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • none

Notes: --


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more.

Saxophone Colossus
Sonny Rollins
“Though he lacked the improvisational fire of John Coltrane and the restless curiosity of Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins played with a rich, round tone that complimented his melodic inclinations, making him the most accessible of the post-bop musicians” (Mirkin). He “recorded many memorable sessions during 1954-1958, but Saxophone Colossus is arguably his finest all-around set” (Yanow) “that made his reputation” (Mirkin).

“Rollins’ playing never falters; he's backed by the redoubtable Max Roach on drums, Tommy Flannagan on piano, and Doug Watkins on bass” (Mirkin). “Rollins is equally at home with the lilting Caribbean air of St. Thomas” (Mirkin), of which he “debuts and performs the definitive version” (Yanow), “blues (Strode Rode, featuring a driving Tommy Flannagan solo)” (Mirkin), and “a smoldering version of Brecht-Weill’s Moritat (better known as ‘Mack the Knife’)” (Mirkin). Rollins is also “lyrical on You Don’t Know What Love Is and constructs a solo on Blue Seven that practically defines his style” (Yanow).

“Essential music that, as with all of Rollins’ Prestige recordings, has also been reissued as part of a huge ‘complete’ box set; listeners with a tight budget are advised to pick up this single disc and be amazed” (Yanow). “If you are new to jazz, there is no better place to start than Saxophone Colossus” (Mirkin).

Review Source(s):

Last updated November 18, 2008.