Happy (80th) Birthday, Sonny!
Sonny Rollins (with Jim Hall, guitar; Bob Crenshaw, bass; Ben Riley, drums), live (TV broadcast), 1962
Part 1 (“The Bridge”)
Part 2 (“God Bless the Child”)
Part 3 (“If Ever I Would Leave You”)
The great tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins turns 80 on Tuesday, awash in more than the usual veneration. The MacDowell Colony last month awarded him its Edward MacDowell Medal. This week Abrams is publishing “Saxophone Colossus: A Portrait of Sonny Rollins,” a handsome art book featuring photographs by John Abbott, with an essay by Bob Blumenthal. And Friday night Mr. Rollins will walk onstage at the Beacon Theater.
It won’t be just another Sonny Rollins concert, if there even is such a thing. In addition to his working band, Mr. Rollins has reached out to several guests. The guitarist Jim Hall is the most eagerly anticipated: at 79, he is indisputable jazz royalty himself, and a trusted partner from one of the most celebrated stretches of Mr. Rollins’s career. (Consult the ageless 1962 album “The Bridge.”) Mr. Hall sat in with Mr. Rollins in New England one night this summer. Before that they hadn’t played together since 1991, in a Carnegie Hall concert that also included the gifted young trumpeter Roy Hargrove, now 40, who will rejoin them here.
—Nate Chinen, New York Times, 9/1/10
Interview (2009) (encountering W.E.B. DuBois as a child in Harlem, playing with Bud Powell at nineteen, using drugs, studying yoga in India, aging, etc.)