“I was the engineer on the recording sessions and I also made the masters for the original LP issues of these albums. Since the advent of the CD, other people have been making the masters. Mastering is the final step in the process of creating the sound of the finished product. Now, thanks to the folks at the Concord Music Group who have given me the opportunity to remaster these albums, I can present my versions of the music on CD using modern technology. I remember the sessions well, I remember how the musicians wanted to sound, and I remember their reactions to the playbacks. Today, I feel strongly that I am their messenger.”
—Rudy Van Gelder
Sonny Rollins’s Saxophone Colossus, consistently included on lists of the greatest jazz albums, showcases virtually every brilliant aspect of his complex musical personality.
Rollins fronted a foursome including Tommy Flanagan, the consummate accompanist and an always-engaging piano soloist, Doug Watkins, one the supreme time-players of his day, and drummer Max Roach, whose radar-eared work was nothing short of miraculous. Though by the mid-1950s he was considered the up-and-coming young tenor man, Rollins (b. 1930) hit his stride as never before, forging such epochal performances as his signature calypso “St. Thomas” (in its debut recording), the sardonically witty “Moritat” (aka “Mack the Knife”), and especially the original minor-key blues opus “Blue 7,” wherein Rollins’s “thematic improvisation” came to the fore.
As Ira Gitler concludes in his updated liner notes: [Saxophone Colossus is] “a statue of great stature, built to last.”