Personalities | Sonny Rollins | Fifties | Jazz & Blues

(Tenor and soprano saxophone, b. 1930)

Sonny Rollins stands alongside John Coltrane as the major bop-rooted stylist on tenor saxophone. He cut his teeth in New York with bop giants including Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis. He was a member of the Clifford BrownMax Roach Quintet (1955–57), and has led his own bands since then. His late 1950s recordings confirmed his standing as one of the great talents in the music; calypso-based tunes have been a recurring motif since ‘St. Thomas’ (1956).

He stopped performing to recharge creatively between 1959–61, then recorded with an early hero, Coleman Hawkins (1963), and flirted with the emerging free jazz avant-garde (1965–66). He took his long and discursive soloing to its logical conclusion in The Solo Album (1985) and experimented with soprano saxophone, also adding various electric instruments to his group. Rollins is capable of a power and invention that few musicians in jazz have been able to match.

Styles & Forms | Fifties | Jazz & Blues
Personalities | Horace Silver | Fifties | Jazz & Blues

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel


An extensive music information resource, bringing together the talents and expertise of a wide range of editors and musicologists, including Stanley Sadie, Charles Wilson, Paul Du Noyer, Tony Byworth, Bob Allen, Howard Mandel, Cliff Douse, William Schafer, John Wilson...


Classical, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and more. Flame Tree has been making encyclopaedias and guides about music for over 20 years. Now Flame Tree Pro brings together a huge canon of carefully curated information on genres, styles, artists and instruments. It's a perfect tool for study, and entertaining too, a great companion to our music books.

Rock, A Life Story

Rock, A Life Story

The ultimate story of a life of rock music, from the 1950s to the present day.

David Bowie

David Bowie

Fantastic new, unofficial biography covers his life, music, art and movies, with a sweep of incredible photographs.