Saying that Sonny Rollins had a ”great” seven decade long career is an understatement. Rollins is not only one of the most significant jazz musicians in music, but he is a living inspiration and amazing composer who has received accolades such as the National Medal of Arts , Polar Music Prize, multiple Honorary Doctor of Music awards, and elected to the American Academy of Arts of Sciences. Yet, it is not just the awards that represent just how astonishing Rollins’ career has been. Even if Rollins was not as recognized or given so many awards, his music’s quality is momentous and exceptional. Whether he was a saxophonist creating music for Blue Notes Records, Okeh Records, Prestige, RCA, or any other recording company…his compositions will forever be rich jazz standards that are a part of music history since the late 1940’s. Thank you Mr. Sonny Rollins. Here is one of my favorite performances/song from live in Denmark, 1965, ” There Will Never Be Another You.”
John Coltrane’s 1958 released album Blue Train is one of his gems that is both timeless and significant in any era. Not only was the label Blue Note Records a legendary & important part of music history, but it is Coltrane’s brilliance playing the tenor saxophone, Lee Morgan on the trumpet, Curtis Fuller’s trombone skills, Kenny Drew playing the piano, Paul Chambers on base, and Philly Joe Jones as the drummer that completes this album in such a compelling manner . The album was produced by Blue Notes Records co-founder Alfred Lion and Coltrane wrote nearly all of the music, with Johnny Mercer and Jerome Kern writing the song ”I’m Old Fashioned.” The album has two sides, which includes ”Moments Notice” and my personal favorite ”Blue Train” on side one. Side two includes ”Locomotion”, ”I’m Old Fashioned”, and ”Lazy Bird”. In 1997, alternate take bonus tracks were released of ”Lazy Bird” and ”Blue Train”. This was only Coltrane’s second solo album & although it is considered ”Hard Bop”, I think all of his music is beyond just one specific genre. Of course, not long after releasing Blue Train, Coltrane would go on to create an album that was chosen as one of the 50 recordings picked by The Library of Congress & added to the National Recording Registry…the groundbreaking & innovative classic Giant Steps.
In the late 80s & early 90s, there were a lot of ”jazz rap” groups that were bringing something different & innovative to music. Some of these groups were A Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets, US3, & De La Soul. I love how they infused jazz with rap to help blur the lines of simply placing music in one genre & still to this day, many people love these groups & their positivism theory inspired messages.
If you love classic jazz like I do, then Grover Washington Jr. is probably one of your favorites. The first song is Mister Magic and the second classic, featuring Bill Withers, is Just The Two Of Us. These classics are just 2
of the many songs that Mr. Grover Washington Jr. has created. I remember before he passed, my mama took a five year old me with her to see him in concert. I appreciate my parents for helping me appreciate good classic/old-school records because if a song is a masterpiece then it doesn’t matter how old someone is or which era it was created in…good music is timeless.