Album Review III
Sonny Rollins ‘The Bridge’ ORG 2284
Dexter Gordon ‘Go’ Music Matters 84112
Guest Listener, David Sanchez
These two recordings are some of my favorites and after a healthy afternoon of mouthpiece testing and horn tweaking with David, I was very glad that these were the requests he made to put on the system at the end of the day. ‘The Bridge’ was my personal gateway into Sonny Rollins. I must admit that It took me awhile to come around to Sonny’s playing, I always gravitated towards Coltrane’s recordings from the same era and I’m sad that Rollins was not an earlier influence for me. This recording is so very special, and the band is absolutely amazing behind him. Honestly Jim Hall’s comping on the whole record, but in particular on ‘Without A Song’ represents the greatest of all time to me. He and Sonny are such a perfect balance. Even though the record is mainly standards, it always sounds fresh, always daring.
There’s not much I can say about Dexter’s playing on ‘GO’ other than I remember several of my early teachers pointing me towards him as someone that was ‘easy to transcribe’. I don’t believe that this was to say that his playing was simple, just clear and straight forward. Never the less, I always associated him with those connotations but listening to the excellent re-issues done by Music Matters of his Blue Note recordings always leaves me thinking how modern he sounds, has anyone ever swung harder on the horn?? The word that sums his playing up to me is ‘joy’ and I think that is an ingredient that has gone by the wayside in a lot of modern jazz.
Ive had the immense pleasure of getting to know David Sanchez over the last few months and it has been an honor to do so. He is a kind and thoughtful man, who very obviously deeply respects the music and the lexicon of his instrument. It always inspires me to meet people who have achieved great success who are both still excited about their craft and project great humility. Here are a few quotes from our conversation while listening:
‘Ben Riley is incredible man, those brushes, wow!’
‘Its great to hear how much he's (Sonny) moving around while he's playing, he’s got his bell all over the place haha’
‘His sound on this is so special, the Selmer mouthpiece sounds so different than the Berg later on and the Otto Link he played on ‘Saxophone Collosus’
‘Bob Cranshaw…. so underrated’
JF ‘Were you always into Sonny?’ DS ‘Yes absolutely, I mean, I played percussion too growing up and hearing him was like hearing someone play drums on the horn’
‘Trane came later for me. I mean they were both so free but Sonny was carefree you know? Like in a more organic way that really resonates with me'
‘I heard this record for the first time and couldnt believe saxophone could be played this way’
‘Lets play the B side, that’s my favorite, Love For Sale’
‘The first time I heard ‘Go’ I remember thinking I want to sound like THAT!’
‘You know he really influenced Trane and Sonny and they both openly said that about him. I wish more young played would check him out deeper’
* David was quietly singing along with both records the whole time, he had all the solos memorized