Sonny Rollins is 80 years old. So glad he’s still thriving and playing.
No one sings with a saxophone like Sonny Rollins. His sound is infinite and rich. His musical language is a Shakespeare soliloquy. When I was a student in Boston I would go to the Jazz Workshop on Boylston Street whenever one of the jazz greats came to town. One night, one ticket, one drink I’d self-consciously sip hoping the wait staff wouldn’t bug me to buy more. But when Sonny came to town, I went every single night. I got there early and sat right next to the stage and just basked in that sound and those solos. He was playing with Matsuo on guitar and I’m sorry to say I don’t remember the other musicians’ names. He played St. Thomas and Doxy and so many beautiful ballads – A Nightingale Sang in Barkley Square, his own version of Debussy’s Reverie.
Those days are gone for good. Today I can’t imagine hearing him in a big theater. It just wouldn’t be the same.