Yoko Miwa

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86 Years Of Sonny

Sonny Rollins 2011

Sonny Rollins turns 86 years old on September 7, 2016. Sonny is the kind of musician for whom the word “giant” was invented.

Our webmaster, Jason Crane, has interviewed Sonny three times. You can hear all of those interviews here:

9 comments

      1. Long story short, my freshman year in college 1988, I went to see this movie that I loved at the time “Working Girl” twice with Harrison Ford. In the movie, there is a scene at a party in NYC where the band is playing “Poor Butterfly.” I loved the movie and music so much that I went out to buy the soundtrack at the old Tower Records( it was cassettes in those days). They included the full 12 minute edition of Sonny’s poor butterfly and I was hooked on his music after not being a jazz follower at all my whole life. It was such a great classy version of it, that led me into my love of jazz and I explored more and more of his music. That’s the lesson as a teacher that you should take away from this Yoko, that you never know what little thing will spark that interest and passion in someone. I came for Carly Simon’s “Let the River Run” but left with Sonny’s “Poor Butterfly.”

        1. What a great story John! You are so right that we never know what will spark passion and interest in someone which is why it’s so important to keep an open mind. Jazz was just waiting for you to find it, you didn’t know it was and it came from somewhere you wouldn’t expect. Maybe that’s what the music director for that film wanted. I already knew this but it’s good to be reminded, especially in my teaching – just the same I never thought comments on my the blog of my own website would be so thought provoking. Thank you for this, it made me smile. :)

  1. SR is just an astonishing giant as much personally as musically. I have heard few other improvisers who can create such a seemingly endless flow of ideas as he can. I have seen even his fellow band members watch and listen with astonishment at his outpouring of music and wonder if he’ll start winding a solo down any time soon. As one musician commented about his solos, “oh, there is still lots more where that is coming from.” I even once dragged my elderly/ailing mother out to one of his shows. She knew nothing about him, but was just transported by his presence and energy and music as everyone else in the audience that night. But his personal qualities impress me just as much as his enormous musicality, and I think these qualities are as clearly evident in these interviews as much as his musicianship is during his performances. He is a completely humble person who recognizes and acknowledges the struggles of existence we cope with as individuals and as part of the human community. His thoughts on living are as valuable as his music.

    1. Thank you Scott, I wish Sonny would read these comments because he would realize people are receiving his message loud and clear, I think he knows somehow his words and playing are reaching the people he wants to speak to directly. There was a great video of him going around on Facebook where he talks about how he must have been a musician in his former existence, I totally believe that…or that he was sent here to do what he is doing because with him there is always more where that came from and how is that humanly possible unless you are Sonny Rollins?

  2. I really must include a short note of gratitude to JC here, too. These interviews are of course just priceless, even for a musician who has been interviewed as much as SR. I am sorry to say I have not known about your website The Jazz Session before, but am grateful to have learned about it now. It is all clearly a labor of love, and the extensive list of interviews must be a treasure trove I’ll have to visit often. So a heartfelt thanks to you, Mr. Crane.

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