Sonny Rollins (Photo: Francis Wolff/Blue Note Records)
On this day (May 24) in 1956, two titans of the tenor saxophone — Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane — came together in Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in Hackensack, New Jersey, to record “Tenor Madness,” the leadoff track for Rollins’ Prestige album of the same name. The tune, which clocks in at more than 12 minutes, is a traditional B-flat blues that features some blistering saxophone exchanges and wildly imaginative solo flights. It’s the perfect illustration of each player’s style. What’s more, it marks the only known of Rollins and Coltrane together. For that, it’s a treasure.