Sonny, No

Bad news. Last June 15, in my first entry of the “Jazz Messengers” blog, I broke the news that three months hence, Sonny Rollins, the world’s greatest living tenor saxophone player, would be playing a rare trio concert at Carnegie Hall—with Roy Haynes (one of the two greatest living drummers) and Christian McBride (an outstanding young bassist)—and that his own record label, Doxy, would release the results on CD along with a similar, recently unearthed, never-before-heard trio session that Rollins played at Carnegie 50 years earlier.

The concert with Haynes and McBride, last Sept. 18, was sensational, a revelation even by Rollins standards. (I reviewed the concert for the New York Times and, in longer form, on this blog.)

But now, I have learned that there will be no CD. Rollins, who is nothing if not self-critical, is displeased with the quality of his playing and therefore wants to keep the tapes bottled up. A true shame.

I interviewed Mr. Rollins recently, about another matter entirely, and asked him if he at least planned to perform again with McBride and Haynes (the latter, a contemporary with whom he hadn’t played since 1958!). He replied that a reunion is in the works. If that concert really does happen, book planes, trains, or buses to see and hear it.

gsb's picture

I was fortunate enough to see Mr. Rollins perform when I was a college student nearly twenty years ago. I agree, book planes, trains or buses to see and hear him. Saxophone Colossus indeed. He and McCoy Tyner, who also played a date on campus, started my love of jazz.With Oscar Peterson's recent death, it really struck home that we won't have many more opportunities to see some of these legends on stage (thank goodness I finally got to see B.B. King live recently).