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5 Saxophonists Must-Hear Album List

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5 Saxophonists Must-Hear Album List

The Saxophone is arguably one of the most appealing instrument in the world of Jazz. The unique fusion of brass and woodwind that is the sax found an electrifying vibrato in the hands of jazzmen that truly revolutionized the world of Music.

Here are some of the best Jazz-Saxophone albums that might help you to love this beautiful genre:

Coleman Hawkins - Body And Soul (1939)

Coleman Hawkins returned to the US after a 5-year hiatus in Europe and affirmed himself as one of the premier tenor men on the scene. This album is proof of this fact. The album was recorded in 1996 and contains all of his recordings made between 1939-1956. The name of the album comes from Hawkin’s most famous shows- a 1939 recording of ‘Body and Soul’. It also has a 1956 recording of the same. Because of the 1939 record, there have been a number of compilations of the same.

Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus (1956)

The album was recorded during the period when Rollings tracked 7 albums over a period of 12 months. It was recorded in 1956 and released in 1957 and is considered a masterpiece from his mid-series recordings for Prestige Records.

Rollins is at his most poetic on the cocktail ballad “You Don’t Know What Love Is” and is grimly sarcastic on his reading of “Moritat” (aka “Mack The Knife"). The last of the album’s five pieces, “Blue 7,” is a perfect hat-and-beard blues, opened slyly by bass man Doug Watkins, animated with sprightly harmonic playfulness by pianist Tommy Flanagan and frosted with Rollins’ innovative melodic approach.

Cannonball Adderley - Something Else (1958)

Perhaps the most underrated saxophonist of his time, Cannonball Adderley could hold his own ground among his rivals. Something Else was selected to be a part of the core collection by The Penguin Guide to Jazz, notably because he roped in some of the legends to contribute to it. And by legends, we mean Miles Davis to Art Blakey to Jimmy Cobb.

Adderley's reading of “Autumn Leaves” is sneaky and subtle, “Love For Sale,” featuring Jones is dynamic and the title track, an Adderley classic, is, well, something else.

John Coltrane - Giant Steps (1959)

The first album Coltrane taped for Atlantic Records, Giant Steps was both a summary of the Coltrane of the past two years and a peak into the Coltrane who would grow for the label over the coming period.

The tunes are comparatively simple, his melodic approach sparser and easier to digest and his tone, even on the ballads, less sorry than on his prior work. Tommy Flanagan, who also worked on Sonny Rollins’ Saxophone Colossus is admirable at the keys, Paul Chambers’ bass playing is hefty but not unwieldy and Art Taylor pushes the tunes when necessary and holds back when appropriate.

Chet Baker- She Was Too Good to Me (1974)

Chet Baker, a famous cool-toned trumpet performer with movie star good appearances, was a star by the age of twenty-three, winner of all the jazz polls as a singer as well as a trumpeter. After getting out of the Army, he gigged with Charlie Parker on the West Coast in 1952 and then met the Gerry Mulligan pianoless Quartet that soon became among the most popular in jazz.

Their recording of "My Funny Valentine" created a national sensation and made the delicate sound of Baker's horn symbolic of an entire "cool" attitude. Baker then formed a very successful quartet with pianist Russ Freeman. Except for a brief period of inactivity, Chet continued to perform for over thirty years. Some of his finest recordings were made shortly before his death. Since then his reputation continues to grow, thanks to his colorful life no less than his beautiful music. In 1989, Baker was selected into the Down Beat Hall of Fame.