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Road Shows, Vol. 1 (Live)

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iTunes Review

One of many things that the tenor sax giant Sonny Rollins is known for is the gap in quality between his studio albums and his legendary live performances. His releases can be lackluster, but his highly anticipated live shows often display his improvisatory genius. (Of course, Rollins has put out his share of genuine classics, including Saxophone Colossus, Way Out West, and Freedom Suite.) Road Shows, Vol. 1 is comprised of concert recordings dating from 1980 to 2007. The backup bands on these dates are not always amazing, but Rollins rivets. He famously includes calypso-flavored material — Rollins was born in New York City but his parents hailed form the Virgin Islands — in his live shows, which the album represents with “Nice Lady,” a jaunty calypso that features nice trombone work from Clifton Anderson in addition to Rollins’ inventive solo. “Some Enchanted Evening,” which was recorded in New York in 2007 brings to mind Albert Ayler, reminding listeners of Rollins’ avant-garde leanings. It’s the only trio performance here and drummer Roy Haynes and bassist Christian McBride are superb yet low-key, letting the spotlight stay on Rollins’ exploratory horn. And any Rollins fan must check out the stunning cadenza on “More Than You Know.”

Customer Reviews


This album is a great album for saxophone players. I am a saxophone player who has not yet found a song by Sonny Rollins that I do not enjoy. I don't understand how this style of playing can be characterized as "blowing the saxophone rather than playing the saxophone." I think that the tone, the style, and the technique are all exceptional. I rated this a 5/5

Amazing live collection by a giant.

Joyful, exuberant, and masterful.

Sax Legend

Sonny Rollins is one of the greatest tenor sax players with us today today and this live recording proves it.


Born: September 7, 1930 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Sonny Rollins will go down in history as not only the single most enduring tenor saxophonist of the bebop and hard bop era, but also as one of the greatest contemporary jazz saxophonists of them all. His fluid and harmonically innovative ideas, effortless manner, and easily identifiable and accessible sound have influenced generations of performers, but have also fueled the notion that mainstream jazz music can be widely enjoyed, recognized, and proliferated. Born Theodore Walter Rollins in New York...
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