Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Books - Saxophone Colossus: A Portrait of Sonny Rollins by Bob Blumenthal

Saxophone Colossus: A Portrait of Sonny RollinsSaxophone Colossus: A Portrait of Sonny Rollins by Bob Blumenthal

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The great saxophonist Sonny Rollins has been an iconic figure in jazz for nearly sixty years but has never been the subject of a proper biography. This book does not fill that void either but is a very worthy volume regardless, featuring the amazing photography of John Abbott who captured Rollins in public performance and private moments for the past several decades. Abbott's photography is combined with Blumenthal's text to create a celebration of the great musician rather than a proper biography. It's interesting that the text of the book centers for the most part on Rollins' classic albums of the 1950's, particularly Saxophone Colossus, which is considered the saxophonist's ultimate masterpiece. While the text focuses on the past, the beautiful color photos focus on the recent past and present, with the majority having been taken from 1994-2008. But this collaboration works well with both photography and text given equal space. Blumenthal mixes technical analysis of Rollins' music with history and commentary to good effect. While the jazz world still waits for the definitive Rollins biography, this book works well as a celebration of the life and music of a revered figure. Saxophone Colossus: A Portrait of Sonny Rollins -

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