Writings about Music

Tenor Madness

On the famous Tenor Madness track, which lives up to its billing, John Coltrane sounds untethered to the earth, on a more perilous trajectory, while Sonny Rollins sounds grounded as a mountain, in empathetic communion with his saxophone colleague if somewhat taken aback. The sublime support of Red Garland, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones bears witness like the benign indifference of the universe embracing all.


The Sonny Rollins epiphanic studio rendering of "My One and Only Love," inspired by a very young Herbie Hancock, remains my favorite recording of this jazz standard illuminating alignment with the sage advice of Lester Young regarding knowing the lyrics of songs for maximum expressive and musical depth.

- Michael Robinson, February 2020, Los Angeles


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Michael Robinson is a Los Angeles-based composer and writer (musicologist)