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SAXOPHONE REVOLT: an anthology of outstanding stylist


RLP-117 118 A
RLP-117 118 front
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RLP-117 118 A.jpg
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 1.GERRY MULLIGAN: Rhythm –a-ning (5:23) (Thelonious Monk)

  Gerry Mulligan (brs) Thelonious Monk (p) Wilbur Ware (b) Shadow Wilson (drs)  August 12, 1957

 2.JOHN COLTRANE: Monk’s Mood (5:10) (Thelonious Monk)

  Thelonious Monk (p, leader) John Coltrane (ts) Wilbur Ware (b)    April 16, 1957

 3.JOHNNY GRIFFIN: Woody’n You (6:05) (Dizzy Gillespie)

  Johnny Griffin (ts) Kenny Drew (p) Wilbur Ware (b) Philly Joe Jones (drs)   February 25, 1958

 4.COLEMAN HAWKINS: Think Deep (3:26) (Billy Smith)

  Idrees Sulieman (tp) J. J. Johnson (tb) Coleman Hawkins (ts) Hank Jones(p) Barry Galbrith (g) Oscar Pettiford (b) Jo Jones (drs)   March 15, 1957


 1.JULIAN ‘CANNONBALL’ ADDERLEY: A Little Taste (4:32) (Julian Adderley)

  Blue Mitchell (tp) Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley (as) Bill Evans(p) Sam Jones (b) Philly Joe Jones (drs)  July 1, 1958

 2.JOHNNY HODGES: Mood Indigo (6:49) (Duke Ellington)

  Clark Terry (tp, leader) BrittWoodman (tb) Johnny Hodges (as) Paul Gonsalves (ts) Tyree Glenn (vib) Jimmy Woode (b) Sam Woodyard (drs)

  September 6. 1957

 3.BENNY GOLSON: Namely You (4:34) (Mercer – de Paul )

  Kenny Dorham (tp) J. J. Johnson (tb) Benny Golson (ts) Wynton Kelly (p) Paul Chambers (b) Max Roach (drs)  December 23, 1957

 4.SONNY ROLLINS: Cutie (5:57) (Rollins)

  Sonny Rollins (ts) Sonny Clark (p) Percy Heath (b) Roy Haynes (drs)   June 11, 1957

   The reed instrument invented in the 19th century by a Belgian named A. J. Sax has of course played a pivotal role in the story of jazz. More than any other instrument, it can be used as a key to shifting tides. Significantly, you do not find it all in the traditional New Orleans lineup. When, in the mid-1920s, jazz began to move into a big-band phase, the sax section was at the core of this change (Fletcher Henderson’s first orchestra had two trumpets and one trombone, the same as many New Orleans-style bands; but there were three reeds!). And the onset of modern jazz was sparked by the genius and the revolutionary concepts of altoist Charlie Parker.

   Riverside is fortunate in having in its catalogue a wealth of performances by some of the most formidable of currently active tenor, alto and baritone saxophonists. Thus this album, consisting of eight selections culled from as many different LPs, can offer an intriguing and significant cross-section of the instrument.

   The saxophone does seem to have been constantly in the forefront of various jazz “revolts,” a standard-bearer in the incessant creative struggle against status quo and towards new horizons. But the very first such battle was the one needed to establish the saxophone as a valid part of the jazz scene – a rebellion against the concept that it was merely a raucous purveyor of vo-de-o-do dance music for flappers. The battle was waged and won just about single-handedly by the man who was clearly the first jazz tenor sax star: Coleman Hawkins. The incredibly ever-young Hawk, first featured with Henderson in the ‘20s, remains a vibrant jazz figure, as evidenced by his contribution here, a ballad on which he works alongside of such modernists as J. J. Johnson (who appeared on this and the Benny Golson selection through the courtesy of Columbia records) and Hank Jones.

   Similarly, the alto sax came into its own, just a bit later, primarily through the emergence of Johnny Hodges. And, also similarly, Hodges retains a youthful vigor that enables him still to stand up alongside the best; to prove it there is this solo here on an unusual version of a number he had helped the Ellington band make famous quite some years before (which also includes some fine blowing by tenorman Paul Gonsalves).

   Foremost among today’s baritone players is Gerry Mulligan, whose many daring innovations include use of a piano-less lineup. But nothing he has done was nay more challenging than the LP he made for Riverside together with Thelonious Monk, from which is taken the present example of his handling of a swinging Monk tune.

   Pianist Monk actually plays an important role, both directly and indirectly, on much of this album. Not only can he heard with Mulligan and with tenorman John Coltrane (who appeared on Monk’s Mood, and excepted version of which is included here, through the courtesy of Prestige Records), but he has also exerted a strong influence on two other important tenor players represented here: Sonny Rollins and Johnny Griffin.

   Possibly because the many-valved saxophone is the most flexible of horns, one highly notable feature of the jazz of the 1950s has been the exploration of new paths by several young tenormen. The soaring Coltrane, the full-toned Rollins and the amazingly fleet Griffin all have different things to say – different from each other, and often to a great degree different from almost any of their predecessors. As noted, all three have been close to Thelonious, have worked with him, and give evidence of having learned things from him that they have been able to absorb into the pattern of their own very personal styles.

   A fourth notable young tenor is Benny Golson, probably best known as a strikingly original and lyrical composer and arranger, but also an exceptional player. Both aspects of Golson’s talents are displayed in his performance of his own scoring of a recent show tune.

   To play alto sax today, and to play it distinctively, calls for both courage and unusual talent, for the impact and influence of Parker has been almost frighteningly pervasive. Cannonball Adderley (who has already survived being described for a time as the “new” Parker) has both attributes, being confident, schooled, and a most impressive improvisor.

   Together, these eight stars offer not only an enviably high level of performance, but also some exciting indications of the brilliance and fascination of the continuing “saxophone revolt.”

   The saxophone stars featured here can also be heard on such Riverside LPs as –

Mulligan Meets Monk: GERRY MULLIGAN and THELONIOUS MONK (RLP 12-247)

Monk’s Music: THELONIOS MONK Septet; with Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane (RLP 12-242)

The Hawk Flies High: COLEMAN HAWKINS, with J. J. Johnson (RLP 12-233)

The Sound of Sonny: SONNY ROLLINS (RLP 12-241)

Freedom Suite: SONNY ROLLINS (RLP 12-258)

Portrait of Cannonball: JULIAN ADDERLEY Quintet (RLP 12-269)

Things Are Getting Better: ‘CANNONBALL’ ADDERLEY with Milt Jackson (RLP 12-286)

JOHNNY GRIFFIN Sextet; with Pepper Adams, Donald Byrd (RLP 12-264)

Way Out: JOHNNY GRIFFIN Quartet (RLP 12-274)

The Modern Touch: BENY GOLSON Sextet; with J. J. Johnson, Kenny Dorham (RLP 12-256)

The Other Side of BENNY GOLSON Sextet; with Curtis Fuller (RLP 12-290)

Duke with Difference: CLARK TERRY, with Johnny Hodges (RLP 12-246)

A HIGH FIDELITY Recording _ Riverside-Reeves SPECTROSONIC High Fidelity Engineering

   (Audio Compensation: RIAA Curve)

Notes written by ORRIN KEEPNEWS

Cover produced and designed by PAUL BACON – KEN BRAREN – HARRIS LEWINE

Recorded at Reeves Sound Studios, New York City.

Engineers: JACK MATTHEWS (Side 2, #2); JACK HIGGINS (all other selections)


553 West 51st Street New York 19, N.Y.

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