Tenor Madness

(by Sonny Rollins)

One of the most popular blues tune in jazz. Composed by Sonny Rollins; recorded for the first time in 1956 and re-released recently.

This bluesy jazz tune is built around a very simple yet effective blues riff. It is often called at jam sessions by …tenor saxophone players! And : yes, it’s a “Bb blues” … you guessed it!

This tune can be played at different tempos. The tendency for saxes is usually in the medium-up range. You can learn it slower (medium swing) and use more chordal ornamentation. The idea, I think, is simply to be prepared to be playing it at a range of tempos : for faster you’ll want to learn the melody in “single note”, and for slower (groovier) tempos, you’ll want to have more “chords spices”. Experiment and you’ll see what works.

Overall : Fun tune to play and blow on. Learn it now and enjoy! See the PDF for the leadsheet, the chord melody arrangement (in TABS) and the last page is some BASIC chords to get you comping right away! (-:

Tenor Madness: Jazz guitar TABS and chordsTenor Madness (Chord Melody, Lead Sheet AND Chord Sheet)

Video Demonstration



Tenor Madness jazz guitar chord melody demonstrated, with some improvisation. See the PDF (with TABS)for the complete arrangement. This chord melody PDF contains:

  • The leadsheet (chord symbols + melody)
  • The chord melody arrangement (played in the video here)
  • A basic chord chart (basic guitar shapes for you to use.)

If you’ve never played blues before (in a jazz guitar style) I highly recommend this jazz guitar chords introductory eCourse on JazzGuitarLessons.net
Suggested listenings

Sonny Rollins’ album Tenor Madness from 1956. Features delightful exchange of ideasTenor Madness: Sonny Rollins between Rollins and John Coltrane. That is where the two giants of tenor saxophone from the 50’s and 60’s were recorded together for the first time! A MUST hear.

7 thoughts on “Tenor Madness

  1. Pingback: Listening to the REAL Thing: Tenor Madness
  2. l saw your top 50 blues most played. l noticed that Equinox was not included. A fairly easy John Coltrane blues for jamming to, or blowing to as they say in hard bop speak. Whatcha think ?

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