Sunday, September 07, 2014

Sonny Day, Chasin' the Clouds Away

All right, for this blog's 100th (!!!!) entry, here comes an 84th birthday tribute to a true legend. When people call you "the greatest living improviser," you've probably made some pretty unbelievable music in your lifetime.
The name Sonny Rollins should in no way be unfamiliar to anyone reading this. He has been a preeminent force in music since the late 1940s, and was recording with Charlie Parker by the time he was 24. Things have only gotten more tremendous and luminary since.
Decades have gone by, styles have changed and changed back, but this man has been a constant. I feel so lucky to have gotten to see him a few times in my life... I remember one set at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco in the 1990s where he went on one of his 20-minute galactic tours through "St. Thomas". I don't know that I'll ever hear anyone construct a solo with the sustenance of ideas and the flawlessness of execution as he did that night.
To celebrate this auspicious occasion, I am posting a stunning mkv file of an hourlong set filmed in Ronnie Scott's in London in 1974. This is extra yummy because it features jazz-bagpipe maestro Rufus Harley blowing his brains out alongside the Main Man. Quality is excellent... I think this was filmed to air on BBC-TV but I dunno if it ever did until recently.
Sonny Rollins
Ronnie Scott's
London, UK

01 The Cutting Edge
02 A House Is Not a Home
03 Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
04 Dearly Beloved
05 Don't Stop the Carnival
06 East Broadway Rundown
07 Alfie's Theme
Total time: 58:53

Sonny Rollins - tenor saxophone 
Rufus Harley - soprano saxophone, bagpipes 
Yoshiaki Masuo - guitar 
Bob Cranshaw - bass 
David Lee - drums

mkv file of a 2012 BBC-TV rebroadcast
This is quite a little teevee show, and I hope you'll enjoy it as you take time to appreciate the unparalleled mastery of the Saxophone Colossus Mr. Sonny Rollins, born September 7, 1930 in New York City!--J.

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