Sonny Rollins: You Don't Know What Love Is


You Don't Know What Love Is


Sonny Rollins (tenor sax)


Saxophone Colossus (Prestige: OJCCD-291-2)

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Sonny Rollins (tenor sax), Tommy Flanagan (piano), Doug Watkins (bass), Max Roach (drums).

Composed by Don Raye & Gene DePaul


Recorded: Hackensack, NJ, June 22, 1956


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

From the moment Rollins barks out the opening note of his unaccompanied intro, the listener understands that this won't be your typical melancholy love ballad. The tenorist roughs up this tune with a muscular performance that befits a saxophone colossus. Moments of tenderness bubble up from time to time, but before long some angular phrase or barrage of notes or honk in the low register will assert its mantra of tough love. Rollins's solo is commanding, and Flanagan finds himself (as on his "Giant Steps" outing with Coltrane some time later) left to clean up the battlefield after the general has departed. For those who want a smoother, more sentimental ballad, Rollins has announced: "You don't know what love is."

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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