Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sonny Rollins at Carnegie Hall: Jazz Concert of the Year?

When Sonny met trio ... it was the one of the jazz world's most momentous occasions.

That's according to Fred Kaplan of the New York Times, who reported on tenor saxophone giant Sonny Rollins' concert at Carnegie Hall on Tuesday night.

As Kaplan relates in his review (it was surprising that neither Nate Chinen nor Ben Ratliff were the reviewer of record) it was the 50th anniversary of Rollins' first concert at the venerable venue, and the first time the saxophonist, 77, had played with the great drummer Roy Haynes, 82, since 1958. Newsweek also reviewed the show.

Here's the best part -- the first half of the show featured a stripped-down, pianoless trio with Haynes and bassist Christian McBride, at 35 the young 'un of the bunch.

For a minute there, about a week ago, I fantasized about using my frequent-flyer miles (just enough for one domestic flight) to hop on a plane and take in the show. Alas ...

In Ratliff's earlier NY Times preview of the show, he discussed the impact of Rollins' pianoless trios, beginning in March 1957 with Way Out West. Good news for fans: Rollins, through his own label, Doxy, will shortly release a CD pairing tracks recorded Tuesday night with tracks from his first performance at Carnegie Hall, on Nov. 29, 1957, with bassist Wendell Marshall and drummer Kenny Dennis.

It's not quite like being there, but not a bad consolation prize.

Rollins' home page is worth a visit. Interesting to note that he offers an apology to the many will-call ticket holders who were forced the miss the first -- and, probably, best - part of the concert, the trio segment, because of long lines at the ticket window.

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