November 11, 2009

SONNY, WITH A CHANCE OF 'TRANE:

Sonny Rollins: Confessions of a colossus: He jammed with Miles and went Zen with Coltrane. As Sonny Rollins heads to the UK, he reveals the secrets of his success (John Fordham, 1111/09, guardian.co.uk)

Rollins is that rare thing: a consummate entertainer with a negligible ego. Even though he first took to the stage with a saxophone in 1949, he still wants every show to be different, and better than the last. At his best (and even as he nears 80, he can still find it, albeit in shorter bursts), Rollins thrills his listeners with a sense of infinite possibility.

The biggest star of this year's London Jazz festival, which opens on Friday, Rollins tends to save his loquacity for his saxophone; but he recently found time, after a run of American and European concerts, to talk. He still practises every day at his farmhouse in Germantown, upstate New York, does yoga and watches his diet, but the Rollins I spoke to was also taking stock, thinking it was time for some changes. [...]

"Let me tell you what I do want to do," Rollins says, warming to his theme. "If you've ever heard any Native American music, there's a repetitive sort of a beat to it, but paradoxically it's very freeing. It's different to what we know from jazz. It's not a loose, swinging beat; Native American music is solid, not so expansive. I like that feel. It's giving me more ability to express myself, and I'm trying to get my band to feel it. I'm interested in the social context of it, too, in Native American culture. I hate the word 'spiritual' because it's been so overused, but I've always wanted something beyond the secular in music. This has it." His plan is to have his rhythm section play with a Native American beat, while he improvises over the top. That's the plan for now, anyway.


Pssst...not spiritual...spirituals.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 11, 2009 8:30 AM
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