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Long-Lost Tape Inspires Sonny Rollins
By CHARLES J. GANS

NEW YORK (AP) — Sonny Rollins was surprised when a long-lost tape of his Carnegie Hall debut was discovered among the Voice of America's huge collection of recordings at the Library of Congress. But after listening to the tape, the tenor saxophonist got inspired to return to Carnegie to mark the 50th anniversary of that historic concert.

On Tuesday night, Rollins will be performing the same three songs — "Moritat," "Sonnymoon for Two," and "Some Enchanted Evening" — that the then 27-year-old saxophonist played with bassist Wendell Marshall and drummer Kenny Dennis at his first Carnegie concert on Nov. 29, 1957.

"I thought it would be interesting to reprise the material," said the 77-year-old Rollins in a telephone interview from his home in Germantown, N.Y. "Let's hope that the now sounds better than the then. I'm leaving myself open to people that say, `Oh gee, I like the 1957 Rollins better,' but I guess there's no way I can avoid that."

The concert tape had been lost until 2005 when Larry Appelbaum, a jazz specialist at the Library of Congress, discovered a set of tapes in the Voice of America music collection simply labeled "sp. Event 11/29/57 carnegie jazz concert (#1)." Those tapes also included a historic recording of pianist Thelonious Monk's quartet with saxophonist John Coltrane, which became one of 2005's most important jazz releases.

Rollins doesn't remember much about the other performances at that benefit concert that also featured Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie and Chet Baker.

"The only thing I do remember is that Ray Charles followed me ... and I was proud of the fact that we were getting a lot of applause and he couldn't get on right away," said Rollins. "It just gave me a little boost that I could keep the great Ray Charles waiting."

In returning to Carnegie, Rollins will be reviving a tradition that continued from the 1970s into the early '90s in which he would present an annual concert at Carnegie Hall (or occasionally other venues) featuring special guests — old friends like Gillespie and Charles Mingus or young lions like Wynton and Branford Marsalis and Terence Blanchard. But since 1995, Rollins had made it an annual habit to perform in New York with his band at larger outdoor venues.

On Tuesday, Rollins will be teaming in a trio with 82-year-old drummer Roy Haynes and 35-year-old bassist Christian McBride. The program also included a separate set featuring his working band with trombonist Clifton Anderson, guitarist Bobby Broom, bassist Bob Cranshaw and African percussionist Kimati Dinizulu.

Rollins has known Haynes since their childhood days in Harlem, and they appeared together on the saxophonist's first studio recording, an April 1949 session with singer Babs Gonzales. Rollins hasn't previously played with McBride.

For the Carnegie Hall concert, Rollins will be playing in the challenging piano-less bass and drums trio with no other front-line instrument to ease the load. It's a format he helped pioneer in the late 1950s on such classic albums as "Way Out West" and "Freedom Suite.

"It gives me a little more freedom to put my own thoughts in those musical spaces," he said. "I like just drums and bass ... which is harder to do as I'm aging but I guess everything is harder to do as you're aging."

Rollins' Oleo Productions will be presenting the Carnegie concert marking the 50th anniversary of his debut. He also plans to release a CD in 2008 with the original 1957 trio recording and the upcoming concert on his new Doxy Records label.

"I'm sure I attracted the enmity of a lot of concert promoters ... by doing this," said Rollins. "But after all this is America and if we can do it ourselves and make it a success, why that's how America was made. ... It's a good step I feel for empowerment
 

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cleger said:
Long-Lost Tape Inspires Sonny Rollins
By CHARLES J. GANS

NEW YORK (AP) — Sonny Rollins was surprised when a long-lost tape of his Carnegie Hall debut was discovered among the Voice of America's huge collection of recordings at the Library of Congress. But after listening to the tape, the tenor saxophonist got inspired to return to Carnegie to mark the 50th anniversary of that historic concert.

On Tuesday night, Rollins will be performing the same three songs — "Moritat," "Sonnymoon for Two," and "Some Enchanted Evening" — that the then 27-year-old saxophonist played with bassist Wendell Marshall and drummer Kenny Dennis at his first Carnegie concert on Nov. 29, 1957.

"I thought it would be interesting to reprise the material," said the 77-year-old Rollins in a telephone interview from his home in Germantown, N.Y. "Let's hope that the now sounds better than the then. I'm leaving myself open to people that say, `Oh gee, I like the 1957 Rollins better,' but I guess there's no way I can avoid that."

The concert tape had been lost until 2005 when Larry Appelbaum, a jazz specialist at the Library of Congress, discovered a set of tapes in the Voice of America music collection simply labeled "sp. Event 11/29/57 carnegie jazz concert (#1)." Those tapes also included a historic recording of pianist Thelonious Monk's quartet with saxophonist John Coltrane, which became one of 2005's most important jazz releases.

Rollins doesn't remember much about the other performances at that benefit concert that also featured Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie and Chet Baker.

"The only thing I do remember is that Ray Charles followed me ... and I was proud of the fact that we were getting a lot of applause and he couldn't get on right away," said Rollins. "It just gave me a little boost that I could keep the great Ray Charles waiting."

In returning to Carnegie, Rollins will be reviving a tradition that continued from the 1970s into the early '90s in which he would present an annual concert at Carnegie Hall (or occasionally other venues) featuring special guests — old friends like Gillespie and Charles Mingus or young lions like Wynton and Branford Marsalis and Terence Blanchard. But since 1995, Rollins had made it an annual habit to perform in New York with his band at larger outdoor venues.

On Tuesday, Rollins will be teaming in a trio with 82-year-old drummer Roy Haynes and 35-year-old bassist Christian McBride. The program also included a separate set featuring his working band with trombonist Clifton Anderson, guitarist Bobby Broom, bassist Bob Cranshaw and African percussionist Kimati Dinizulu.

Rollins has known Haynes since their childhood days in Harlem, and they appeared together on the saxophonist's first studio recording, an April 1949 session with singer Babs Gonzales. Rollins hasn't previously played with McBride.

For the Carnegie Hall concert, Rollins will be playing in the challenging piano-less bass and drums trio with no other front-line instrument to ease the load. It's a format he helped pioneer in the late 1950s on such classic albums as "Way Out West" and "Freedom Suite.

"It gives me a little more freedom to put my own thoughts in those musical spaces," he said. "I like just drums and bass ... which is harder to do as I'm aging but I guess everything is harder to do as you're aging."

Rollins' Oleo Productions will be presenting the Carnegie concert marking the 50th anniversary of his debut. He also plans to release a CD in 2008 with the original 1957 trio recording and the upcoming concert on his new Doxy Records label.

"I'm sure I attracted the enmity of a lot of concert promoters ... by doing this," said Rollins. "But after all this is America and if we can do it ourselves and make it a success, why that's how America was made. ... It's a good step I feel for empowerment


That's EXTREMELY cool! If the old recording is of the quality of the Monk/Trane one that emerged last year -- wow. And how cool is it that he's reprising the material and releasing it all together!? A lot of players his age wouldn't dare do that. But of course Sonny is Sonny -- then and now, always was and always will be.

Thanks for the info!:cool:
 

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This was just a few nights ago wasn't it? Anyone go? I was going to try and make the trek but had some important stuff come up.
 

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Just found this on Sonny's site...

Sonny Rollins, Oleo Productions, September 19, 2007

Thank all of you for attending our 50th Anniversary event. At the end of our concert at Carnegie Hall last night, it came to our attention that a significant number of ticket-buyers were forced to wait for such a long time in order to pick up their tickets at will-call that they missed most of the trio half of our concert.

This was very upsetting to me personally because my staff & I had worked very hard to make sure that every detail of the evening was of the highest quality & a satisfying experience for the people who supported our efforts by buying tickets.

As part of our agreement with Carnegie Hall, everything related to ticket sales was to be handled by the Carnegie box office. Obviously something went very wrong, and we are anxious not only to discover exactly what happened and why, but also how the ticket-buyers who missed the trio segment will be compensated.

In the meantime, please accept my personal apologies.

Sonny Rollins
 

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DukeCity said:
Very cool. And Sonny (and/or the writer) got the then/than thing right, thus avoiding being held up to ridicule on the grammar thread! :D

Whew! We won't have to punish him than. More writers then him will be relieved.:D
 

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I was there. Fortunatrely, I already had my tickets so I avoided the complete fiasco at Will-Call. Apparently, 20 to 30 minutes ebfore showtime, the NEW computer system at Carnegie collapsed, leaving several hundred people standing on the sidewalk until almost the end of the first set!!!! People were very unhappy, not at Sonny, I think (he held up opening the show for about 20-30 minutes to allow more time for seating), but at the House Management. It was really a fiasco. Sonny apologized to the late-seated somewhere in the second set, but I don't think he realized HOW MANY people were denied access until after the show, prompting his website apology.

The show was decent, but I sort of felt he never got to where he wanted to go....The set list was, if I recall, SONNYMOON FOR TWO, SOME ENCHANTED EVENING, MORITAT (intermission) SONNY PLEASE, BIJI, and DON'T STOP THE CARNIVAL. (I think there was another tune in the second set I wasn't familar with)

It was wonderful to see the crowd at Carnegie go completely bannannas when he took the stage. A great night, but Sonny seemed restrained, reflective, quiet.
 

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I was there, too, and also (thankfully) had my tickets in hand when I arrived. I thought the highlights were the very restrained -- but beautiful --"Some Enchanted Evening" (which was the middle song of the first set), and Christian McBride's bass solo on Moritat (the NY Times reviewer wound up saying about the same thing in today's paper). In "Some Enchanted Evening," Sonny basically just played the melody, but his interplay with Roy Haynes was pretty breathtaking. My wife was surprised that that was my favorite song of the evening, especially since Sonny didn't "do more" on it, but that song was definitely a "less is more" moment. As for the rest of the show, Sonny did a lot of trading 4's and 8's with other members of the band (whether the trio in the first half, or the larger band in the second). There were none of the marathon, chorus-after-chorus solos that turn you inside out and that I've seen at some of his past shows, and there were times when he seemed a little reticent (or maybe tired?). I think the NY Times reviewer put it best when he said that Sonny 'never left the stratosphere' -- which also says something about the standard to which we all hold him. In sum, I felt blessed by the experience. He clearly enjoyed himself and was touched by the crowd's response to him, and it was worth it to me just to be present for that.
 

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brianincairo said:
A great night, but Sonny seemed restrained, reflective, quiet.
I would be too if I were Sonny now going up against Sonny in 1957! Doing all the same material again! Not because he's better or worse now -- I'm not about to bash Sonny past, present, or future. I just mean all the personal baggage inherent in the situation. Damn, a lot of water under the Bridge (aha!), his wife gone: yikes. I would be doing a ton of introspection.
 

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cleger said:
On Tuesday, Rollins will be teaming in a trio with 82-year-old drummer Roy Haynes and 35-year-old bassist Christian McBride.
All due respect to Mr. Rollins for his tremendous and respect-worthy track record. He created some of jazz' most inspiring sounds including many which are my own favorites (not that anybody cares what I like anyway).

All due respect to Mr. Rollins for doin' it his way at age 77.

But it has been YEARS since Mr. Rollins played with a band that kicked him in the ***. Has he had a truly outstanding road band since Soskin and Klein in the 80s?

I hope that he was inspired to take a break from his perfectly decent road-band and work again with The Very Best.
 
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