One of the last in a generation of jazz greats, Sonny Rollins once thought music could change the world. His optimism about humanity has since vanished but, at 85, he still has much he wants to say.
The “Saxophone Colossus”, a nickname that was also the title of his seminal 1956 album, is among a handful of sax players including John Coltrane, Charlie Parker and Coleman Hawkins who defined the instrument, with Rollins creating a heavy-charging, mordant style that was also readily experimental.
The hard-working tenor saxophonist has taken several extended sabbaticals, most famously when he temporarily retired – yet would practice on New York’s Williamsburg Bridge. He later moved to India and Japan to explore spirituality.
His latest break is less intentional – respiratory problems have kept him from playing since 2012.
“I am not finished with what I want to do musically, so I definitely want to do more and I am hoping that I will be able to,” Rollins said in a reflective interview on a career spanning more than 65 years.
Rollins voiced confidence that “new, modern medication” would help him return to form. Eager to keep releasing music in the meantime, he has been reaching into his vault of live recordings to put out collections. [Read More]