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I will attach the instructions and a copy sample version of what the album review needs to look like 🙂


I will also attach the rubric so you can see that your on track as well as the guidelines


MHL 145 Sample Album Review
Saxophone Colossus
Sonny Rollins’ Saxophone Colossus and Work Time is a must hear, must buy
dual album. The ten track dual album includes both recordings from 1955 and 1956.
According to Rollins’ official biography, Saxophone Colossus is one of Rollins’ most
significant piece of work. The album couldn’t have come any sooner. After World War II,
Americans needed to renew themselves spiritually; Saxophone Colossus stimulated just
that. All ten songs on the dual album are very different from each other, with four out of
ten written by Rollins himself. The rest of the tracks are composed by various artists
such as: Raye-De Paul, Kurt Well-Bertold Brecht, Irving Berlin, Billy Strayhorn, AdamsBauer Meyer and Cole Porter. The musicians in the first five tracks are: pianist Tommy
Flanagan, bass player Doug Watkins, and drummer Max Roach. In the last five tracks
are: pianist Ray Bryant, bass player George Morrow and drummer Max Roach.
Nevertheless, Rollins participated in all ten tracks with his tenor saxophone.
Theodore Walter Rollins is Rollins’ birth name. He was born in 1930 in New York,
and grew up in Harlem. He was inspired by some of the most important American Jazz
and Blues pioneers such as Louis Armstrong, Louis Jordan and Fats Waller. Rollins has
received numerous medals and awards throughout his career, including the most recent
“Medal of Arts” from President Barack Obama early this year. But his recognitions don’t
stop there; he is scheduled to receive yet another recognition before the end of this
year; the “Kennedy Center Honors of 2011.” Rollins has recorded 64 albums since the
beginning of his career. His first album participation was in Babs Gonzales and His
Orchestra, recorded in 1949 and his most recent recording is Road Show Vol.2 in 2011.
However, his most significant recording has been Saxophone Colossus.
Saxophone Colossus was released June 22, 1956 and Work Time in December
2, 1955 by Van Gelder Studios. The ten tracks on the dual album are: “St. Thomas,”
which sounds very upbeat and Caribbean, “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” is a gloomy
blues, “Strode Rode” is more pop and commercial, “Moritat” is cheerful with a little
swing, “Blue7” is slightly more lay-back, “There Is No Business like Show Business” is
unquestionably swing feeling, “Paradox” is cheerful and swingy, “Raincheck” has that
fan fair style of introduction, “There Are Such Things” is a sensual, sexy and romantic
style of blues, “It’s All Right With Me” is a little more rushed then the other swing tracks
in this album.
The entire album’s duration is 72:38 minutes; each track lasting between 4:57 to
9:28 minutes. The longest track on the album is “There Are Such Things” which is
included in the bonus album Work Time. According to Ira Gilter, in the original liner
notes she claimed: “There Are Such Things” alone is worth the price of the LP. I
personally think it’s too long and boring. On the other hand, I think “St. Thomas” is worth
the price of both albums put together. Simply put, “St. Thomas” is a masterpiece in
itself. The original melody is said to be a well-known ancestry song from the Virgin
Islands, which Sonny’s mother sang to him as a child. Sonny’s personal and polished
adaptation of the melody produced a flawless end result. The melody’s 18 second drum
introduction; courtesy of Max Roach sets a Caribbean frame of mind, followed by
Sonny’s smooth and clear tenor sax that unfolds the master piece.
Following is an in-depth analysis of “St. Thomas”:
Song form: 16 Bar AABA
Drum solo introduction – 18 second duration
1st Chorus
1st A section –Sonny lays down the core theme of the song with his tenor sax
2nd A Section – Is a repeat of the first A
Bridge – Distinct tenor sax tune gets ready to wrap up the theme using higher notes
3rd A –Sonny uses part of the beginning of the Bridge notes to conclude the 1st Chorus
2nd Chorus
1st A section –Sonny repeats the exact notes as he did in the 1st Chorus
2nd A Section – is a repeat of the first A
Bridge – Sonny prepares the wrap up of the theme
3rd A – conclusion of the 2nd Chorus
Sonny Rollins sax improvisation –minute and a half duration
Followed by Max Roach’s drum solo–minute and a half duration
Both Sax & Drum discern, picking up speed too– a little over a minute duration
Tommy Flanagan’s piano solo adds a bit of a swing feeling – a minute duration
3rd Chorus
1st A section – Sonny changes the single notes to more broken up/ syncopated
2nd A Section – Repeat of 1st A with syncopated accents
Bridge –theme wrap up using higher notes, but not as sharp as he did in the 1st & 2nd
3rd A – Conclusion of the 3rd Chorus with a slight dragging of the last note
4th Chorus
1st A section – Repeat of 1stA from the 3rd Chorus
2nd A Section –Repeat of 1st A with noticeable syncopated accents
Bridge – Sonny uses higher & syncopated notes announcing his final wrap up
3rd A – here Sonny concludes the melody making the last note drag a little longer.
Works Cited
Gilter, Ira “Sonny Rollins Saxophone Colossus” original liner notes (unknown date)
Bucheger, Kelly “Sonny Rollins St. Thomas Transcription.” Harder Bop Web. 14 Jan. 2011.
“Sonny Rollins Biography” official webpage sonnyrollins.com/bio Web. 9 Oct. 2011
York, Vicent “Jazz History Timeline” jazzistry.org Web 2002
MHL 145 American Jazz and Popular Music
Jazz Album Review Guidelines
The purpose of this assignment is to apply the skills that you have developed in musical description and to
use the jazz-related terms to review an actual jazz album. You have been developing these skills in our
class discussions and quizzes so far.
First, choose an album by one of the jazz artists mentioned in class or by another jazz artist you are
interested in. Listen to the album a few times to determine the jazz style or styles that are being played
and a general sense of the arch or range of the songs on the album.
Describe the album to someone who has not heard it and may be interested in purchasing it. Make a case
for or against someone buying the album. Keep the body of the description factual, but be sure to include
your own views and opinions for the end of the paper. Factual info can come from liner notes, careful
Internet research, etc.
The following are some areas that you might wish to cover in your review. You can focus on any of these
questions or others that you can think of:
Who are the jazz artists and who else have they worked with?
What other albums have been recorded by this/these artists and how well were they received by
the public?
When and where was the album recorded? Is it a live show?
What landmark recordings by other artists were recorded around the same time?
Does the order of the songs on the album make sense?
Is there enough variety in this collection?
Is there a consistently high level of playing throughout the album?
Are there any particular selections that stand out? Any that you like better than others?
How is the overall recorded sound of the album?
There is one mandatory section that you must include in your Album review: Please pick your favorite
song from the album and do an in-depth analysis of the musical “play by play” on that song. To be more
specific, your analysis should outline a chronological sequence of musical events. You can organize this
by form elements (for example – describing what goes on during each successive chorus of a 12 bar
blues), or by CD time code (for example – at 1:49, the trombone solo began, then at 1:37, the bass player
took a solo…). Your analysis does NOT have to be as detailed as my video slideshows, but should at least
demonstrate that you can identify and describe what is going on in a recorded performance of jazz.
The review should be at least two pages in length (double spaced with a 12 point font and no larger than
1 inch margins) and be free of grammatical errors. And please use the spell check, remembering that it is
often confused by the context in which some of your words are used. If you quote a source, please list it
as such. Be careful about internet content – it is notoriously incorrect. You are better off using YOUR
OWN WORDS. Plagiarism is one form academic dishonesty and will be penalized fully.
Develop a well-presented point of view supported by an accurate description of what you hear. Use
whatever jazz-related terms apply to the music. Do not be afraid of using a term inaccurately, better to
jump right into the water and swim! I will give you feedback when necessary. Don’t forget to put
quotation marks around “Song Titles” and use italics for Album Titles. Now go listen to an album
and make a case for or against it. Choose an album that you can live with for a few hearings and have fun
doing it! Everyone is REQUIRED to do two reviews (worth 40 points each).
Please carefully read the information below and the rubric so you understand how this assignment will be graded. For the best grade possible, you
• Turn the assignment in on time
• Use academically appropriate language, and PROOFREAD for spelling or punctuation errors.
• Capitalize all artist names and titles. Use quotes for “Song Titles.” Use italic for Album Titles
• Include factual information about your artist/album. Cite your sources.
• Include an overview of the album, AND in-depth analysis of one song you really like, use terminology we have used in class.
• Proofread again to make sure your review is easy to read and that your opinion of the album is clearl
Here is the rubric I use to grade your review:
Album Review Rubric
4.0 pts
Assignment submitted on time?
On time
4.0 pts
2.0 pts
Not submitted
0.0 pts
Grammar – apppropriate language,
spelling, and punctuation
view longer description
Outstanding – no errors
4.0 pts
1-2 errors
3.0 pts
3-4 errors
2.0 pts
5 or more errors
1.0 pts
No Marks
0.0 pts
4.0 pts
No Marks
14.0 pts
Correct delineation of “Song Titles”
vs. Album Titles
Outstanding – no errors in capitalization, quotes, or italics
4.0 pts
some errors
2.0 pts
0.0 pts
/ 12.0 pts
Factual information and citations
Good information, used reliable
sources, proper citations
12.0 pts
Questionable info
or sources
8.0 pts
Factual sources
not cited
4.0 pts
0.0 pts
Outstanding description
of musical events
12.0 pts
Musical analysis and use of
analysis not
8.0 pts
I can’t tell what is going on
from your description
4.0 pts
0.0 pts
/ 12.0 pts
/ 4.0 pts
Overall readability
I would take your recommendation
on this album
4.0 pts
I would NOT take your recommendation
on this album
2.0 pts
0.0 pts
Total Points: 0 out of 40.0

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