Thursday, September 07, 2006

sonny pleases

Blogging has been slow lately, a trend which should continue for another week or so. Important events and discussions have passed me by, but I'm sure you saw them elsewhere (Dewey Redman, Do The Math's '73-'90). However, since I've become something of a Sonny Rollins fanatic of late (A Night At The Village Vanguard, The Freedom Suite, Our Man In Jazz and East Broadway Rundown are recent acquisitions), I wanted to pass along Rollins's 76th birthday page, which features one-song videos of mostly European performances ranging from 1957 (with Henry Grimes, whose face is more recognisable from back then than his playing) to 2006.

I particularly like the staging of the Rome 1962 video (with Grimes, Don Cherry and Billy Higgins) and its variety show intro music: the avant-garde square spotlights kind of make it look like a proto-iPod ad. There's plenty of melodic Rollins, but for his volcanic side, see the "Oleo" (Copenhagen 1965) with NHOP and Alan Dawson. Rollins's unaccompanied intro to "Four" (Copenhagen 1968) is another highlight. "Moritat" (Tokyo 1981) unfortunately features a lot of crowd pandering (and George Duke is listed as playing piano even though he's not), but, interestingly, sounds a lot like a precursor to Acoustic Ladyland, only based on Kurt Weill rather than The Stooges. The later dates have relatively unresponsive bands. Rollins has always been an autonomous energy source (as the solo spots show), but still...