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Last week I discussed the first five songs on Sonny Rollin’s 1975 double disk vinyl LP, “Saxophone Colossus And More.” This week, I will take a look at the remainder of the album.

The first five tracks comprised the original “Saxophone Colossus” which was released in 1956. Rollins has revisited this recording on more than one occasion, as is evident from the fact that there is more than one “Saxophone Colossus And More” floating around out there.

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The interesting thing is, I was not able to find any sign online of anyone writing about either “… And More” release. Even allmusic.com, which I am trying very hard to use as little as possible, lists only the revised 2010 version in what can charitably be called a filler with no commentary text at all, just the track listing.

So while I make no pretense of being a musicologist, here is my layman’s take on Rollins’ attempt to expand on one of the greatest albums in the history of jazz.

“Saxophone Colossus And More” features three groups of musicians. Rollins and drummer Max Roach were the only two common to all three groups. Last week’s article told us about the first group, and here are the others.

The personnel for the first section of what follows:

Sonny Rollins, tenor sax
Kenny Dorham, trumpet
Wade Legge, piano
George Morrow, bass
Max Roach, drums

Side two track three is the first track that was not part of “Saxophone Colossus,” and that song is titled “Kids Know,” one of only two Rollins compositions on the remainder of the album. “Kids Know” has a catchy opening and only gets better as it moves along. Rollins and Dorham both handle the opening, then Dorham lets Rollins run with it. About three and a half minutes in, Rollins takes a break and Dorham does his thing.

One thing I should point out is that while some of the videos that follow refer to other Rollins albums, in every case the version presented is the same one used on “Saxophone Colossus And More.”

After “Kids Know” we have “The House I Live In,” written by Earl Robinson and Lewis Allen (real name: Abel Meeropol). Although it was written for a 1942 Broad Way revue called “Let Freedom Sing,” the song’s greatest popularity followed the release of a 10 minute short on anti-Semitism starring Frank Sinatra. “The House I Live In” is the title of the film, and in it Sinatra sang the song, which later was released as a single and was a big hit for him.

You may be wondering what this has to do with Rollins. Not too much, other than the fact that the original version of the song had a line referring to “My neighbors white and black” which was deleted from the film, and presumably from Sinatra’s version of the song as well.

“The House I Live In” is a decidedly mellow song, although the rhythm section definitely keeps the fires stoked in the background.

“I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face” (from Lerner and Loewe) is a nice ballad that is handled here with predictable results. “Star Eyes” is a little more up-tempo, with Morrow’s bass laying down a line that keeps things moving nicely.

The remainder of the songs were recorded by Rollins with the ill-fated Clifford Brown and Richie Powell, who were killed in a car wreck just four days later.

The complete personnel for these three songs:

Sonny Rollins, tenor sax
Clifford Brown, trumpet
Richie Powell, piano
George Morrow, bass
Max Roach, drums

“I Feel A Song Comin’ On” is of course a classic. It was written by Jimmy McHugh, Dorothy Fields and George Oppenheimer for the 1935 film, “Every Night At Eight.” Brown takes the lead in the opening, and is soon joined by Rollins. The two proceed to trade off, and are followed closely by Powell on the piano and the rhythm section.

The next song is the final Rollins composition here, “Pent Up House.” This song is interesting in part because about 40 seconds in it changes completely and sounds like a whole different song than you thought you were going to hear. Whether that is good or bad is up to the listener, of course, but despite (or because of) the change up, “Pent Up House” has been one of Rollin’s most-liked songs.

Brown takes the lead early on and gives a superb performance until Rollins takes over about three minutes in. As per usual, the rhythm section cooks on this one.

“Saxophone Colossus And More” closes on a high note with “Kiss And Run,” written in 1950 by the prolific songwriter Sam Coslow. Everyone is up for this one, as one would expect. “Kiss And Run” is a great, upbeat song that would have been right at home on my playlist for “Saturday Night Jazz.”

I can’t speak for the 2010 release of “Saxophone Colossus And More,” but if you are able to locate a copy of the vinyl 1975 original (with the green cover as in the photo at the top of this review), I am certain you will find it to be a fantastic addition to your personal playlist, for a Saturday or any other night!

Thanks for reading this.

Al Evans
Wood Village, Oregon

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