fri 25/09/2020

Sonny Rollins, Barbican | reviews, news & interviews

Sonny Rollins, Barbican

Sonny Rollins, Barbican

More than two hours of magic from US sax colossus

Sonny Rollins: Octogenarian colossus
"Being asked to introduce this artist”, began the compere, “is like being asked to introduce God." Fans of Eric Clapton, of course, might beg to differ. But in jazz terms, Sonny Rollins, self-proclaimed “saxophone colossus”, has indisputably been on the all-time A-list since his early work with Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk. He is also on a particularly exclusive part of that list of jazz greats: those still alive. Yet even amongst those few, whose resilient ranks include both Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman, Rollins’s London Jazz Festival performance represented a quite remarkable feat of stamina.

"Being asked to introduce this artist”, began the compere, “is like being asked to introduce God." Fans of Eric Clapton, of course, might beg to differ. But in jazz terms, Sonny Rollins, self-proclaimed “saxophone colossus”, has indisputably been on the all-time A-list since his early work with Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk. He is also on a particularly exclusive part of that list of jazz greats: those still alive. Yet even amongst those few, whose resilient ranks include both Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman, Rollins’s London Jazz Festival performance represented a quite remarkable feat of stamina.

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well... I'm not sure you were at the same concert that i attended on saturday. firstly, Sonny Rollins is anything but a "self proclaimed" saxophone colossus. he is far too humble to make such an egotistical statement.secondly,Mr Rollins' playing style in his autumn years is far from safe. It is almost as if,having played for 60+ years,he has dispensed with the obvious melody at times and plays "outside" for longer periods.I also feel that you are being a trifle unfair regarding his band as many journalists have before you. with an icon like sonny rollins,in his 80th year, it is obvious that the role of the band is to back his every whim. they do that marvellously,albeit a job which will bring them little personal praise. they are not there to compete or stand out.however, I would site Russell Malone's solo on "Sonny Please" as worthy of mention. His style couples straight ahead funk a la James Brown with a chordal style similar to Jim Hall's

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