Wednesday, 7 September 2011

He Survived

Just a tribute to the great Sonny Rollins, whose birthday it is today. A true survivor of the 60s, and practically every other jazz legend of his generation (a genre not exactly renowned for the longevity of its greatest performers). Incredibly, at 81 he's in great shape and still plays damn well too. He's largely avoided commercial bandwagons or embarrassing attempts to woo the youth audience; sticking to a distinctively joyous style with quiet integrity throughout his very, very long career. Here's two clips from the 70s, where he does what he does better than anyone, refreshingly free of the stodgy/coke-addled/indulgent/rock-pandering/discofied/prog-bloated/cod-mystic/desperate 70s career moves that doomed so many jazz greats into unlistenable gatefold landfill. And anyone remaining so effortlessly cool over an acclaimed career spanning seven decades demands respect. Saxophone Colossus indeed...

2 comments:

Greyhoos said...

Indeed. Seen him a couple of times over the past decade, and each time was amazed at how the guy still didn't sound the least bit worn around the edges.

W. Kasper said...

Yeah the joie de vivre he pulls off to this day is pretty impressive. You've actually seen him live? Damn. I saw some putzy young British guy imitating him and that was darn entertaining in itself.

But looking at Sonny now, I think: OK I haven't got it right yet - but maybe by the time I reach my eighth decade, I can be as cool as him...