Adrian Rollini


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Adrian Rollini was the giant of the bass saxophone, a masterful soloist who in the 1920s was part of many classic jazz dates including sessions that featured Bix Beiderbecke and Frankie Trumbauer. His instrument gradually became extinct during the '30s, replaced by the string bass and the baritone sax, but Rollini was still a powerful force whenever he was featured. By the mid-'30s his focus began to seriously shift towards the vibraphone, where he was second to Lionel Hampton for a few years. This double-CD starts out with nine rare selections from 1930 and 1933 that feature Rollini as a sideman with the Singing Boys, Jack Miller, Ben Selvin, George Posnak, Tom Clines, and Freddy Martin ("When the Morning Rolls Around"). The remainder of the program has all of the music recorded on sessions led by Rollini dating from February 14, 1933 to May 4, 1934 with the exception of four titles from October 23 and November 17, 1933 that have been bypassed. While many all-stars, quite a few of whom would become quite famous during the swing era, are sidemen, the music was clearly aimed at the commercial dance band market since they were recorded during the worst years of the Depression and the swing era had not started yet. Every selection has a vocal and the two hottest cuts, "Charlie's Home" and "Happy as the Day Is Long," were not released during the era. Rollini, who is mostly heard on bass sax, is in fine form during his short solos and there are scattered jazz moments to be heard from Bunny Berigan, Benny Goodman, the Dorsey Brothers, and some of the other soloists. Since all of the titles other than the ones that Goodman is on have rarely been reissued, this is a valuable set for collectors of the era, but one should keep their expectations fairly low for there is little free-wheeling jazz to be heard.