Happy 82nd Sonny Rollins: The Beast from the East is Still Going Strong

In the mid 1960s as I was just a teenage saxophonist, soaking up all the great music and molding myself into a hip and keenly aware jazz person. one of the great ones was, and still, Sonny Rollins. He led the way with fashion statements, haircuts, and just strong, muscular jazz improvisations. One of my favorite albums by this iconic figure is the theme music from the motion picture, Alfie. From the opening lines to the all-inclusive closing , You soon get the idea this man is not fooling around or playing at jazz, He is JAZZ. There is succinct and rather quick solos by pianist,Roger Kellaway and guitarist,Kenny Burrell, that sets it up beautifully for Rollins entrance. at this point its the Sonny Rollins show, not from an ego point. Pure, unforgettable playing, with improvisational ideas flowing like a geyser. There’s a boatload of  Sonny Rollins records/CDs, and videos over the six and a half  decades this man has been playing and making music.                                                                       Here are few of my favorites for you to check out for yourself.

Alfie  Soundtrack 

East Broadway Rundown

Way Out West

Saxophone  Colossus

Live at the Village Vanguard Vols. I&II

“1950s..Rollins began to follow Charlie Parker, and soon came under the wing of Thelonious Monk, who became his musical mentor and guru. Living in Sugar Hill, his neighborhood musical peers included Jackie McLean, Kenny Drew and Art Taylor, but it was young Sonny who was first out of the pack, working and recording with Babs Gonzales, J.J. Johnson, Bud Powell and Miles Davis before he turned twenty.

“Of course, these people are there to be called on because I think I represent them in a way,” Rollins said recently of his peers and mentors. “They’re not here now so I feel like I’m sort of representing all of them, all of the guys. Remember, I’m one of the last guys left, as I’m constantly being told, so I feel a holy obligation sometimes to evoke these people.” more information can be found on the Sonny Rollins website: http://www.sonnyrollins.com

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