Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Milestones

Sonny Rollins blindfold test

122 posts in this topic

as i already outed myself being a sucker reg acoustic bass players, it always left me wondering why rollins stopped using these end of the sixties permanently and IMO robbed himself (aka his music) of a natural fundament......

I think I once saw/read an interview where it was explained that Bob Cranshaw was no longer able to cope with the demands of playing an upright bass, hence the bass guitar.

Edited by erwbol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

as i already outed myself being a sucker reg acoustic bass players, it always left me wondering why rollins stopped using these end of the sixties permanently and IMO robbed himself (aka his music) of a natural fundament......

I think I once saw/read an interview where it was explained that Bob Cranshaw was no longer able to cope with the demands of playing an upright bass, hence the bass guitar.

thnx for the info, explains the situation reg bob cranshaw. nevertheless it does give no answer, why rollins (hey he could have hired virtully every bassplayer he wanted !!) remained bound to a musician with this limitation(s)...which again leads back to the prediscussed topic reg rollins and his choices of musicians.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think we should cut Sonny some slack . It is utterly inconsequential that he didn't recognise these players. The potential reasons are myriad but hardly worth debate next to Newk's achievements.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sonny certainly can do what he wants; I just see a waste of resources and talents. I always think that if someone like myself, on a small scale, with no money, no institutional ties, virtually no outside support, can gather an amazing array of musicians to do something they all approach with enthusiasm and brilliance, than guys like Sonny, who write their own ticket, can and should do it.

has nothing to do with depending on someone else to produce the art; I am my own damn artist, night and day. I just feel like there are certain principles involved. He can violate them all he wants, but he cannot remain above criticism.

If James Joyce had started writing Romances and made a ton of money at it we would talk about it as regrettable. To me Sonny is on that level.

Edited by AllenLowe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

but he cannot remain above criticism.

what do you mean by "remain"? I have heard the same criticism for about 40 years now.

Edited by uli

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wasn't good to post here, but I've got to say that I find some of the comments here baffling. Sonny Rollins, at any stage of his career, can play stuff that makes my jaw drop. Not saying that it happens all the time, but it still happens.

I thank the universe for Sonny Rollins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm glad I started this thread. The overall quality of discussion was quite good and interesting--certainly outweighing the occasional unfair or off-the-wall comment.

You mean like your post? Innuendo is a bitch.

Oh yeah ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't read the BFT, but I take it that the crux of the beef here is that Sonny couldn't recognize Lovano, Brecker, or Branford. Really, could any of us? Those guys don't have personal sounds, IMHO. I think it's a pretty weak criticism. Now I'm more interested in finding the BFT and reading how Sonny analyzed the music.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Lovano has a personal sound

I've never been interested in the other two

Fwiw I could care less if Sonny or anyone else could identify those guys.

Many years ago, I had a dream he decided to play with one of maybe 10 great modern day drummers....but I then woke up.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't read the BFT, but I take it that the crux of the beef here is that Sonny couldn't recognize Lovano, Brecker, or Branford. Really, could any of us? Those guys don't have personal sounds, IMHO. I think it's a pretty weak criticism. Now I'm more interested in finding the BFT and reading how Sonny analyzed the music.

I could recognize Lovano right off (it's kind of like the sound of a vacuum cleaner running in reverse) and probably Brecker; Branford probably not or Joshua Redman either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it would have been a more interesting BFT for everyone else had the compiler selected music that Sonny Rollins might have listened to when he was developing as an artist. He probably would have known his predecessors and been able to dive into anecdotes about interacting with them, or by luck a piece might have been something that really meant something to him... Playing him kids younger than him, who were likely influenced by Mr. Rollins himself, I don't see why he would be expected to recognize them.

Edited by Noj

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

as the last couple of posts deals with why rollins was not more successfull in identifying hornplayers in the db blindfold test, i want try to reinstate the question reg the choices of musicians rollins made following his second recording hiatus (1969-1972) and to which exent these influenced his further development/recording output....any further points of view ?

Edited by soulpope

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your Honor, I'll present this as evidence for both the prosecution and the defense:

...

Yes, an old man playing over some sock puppets not really interacting with them at all, just free association with no concern for arc or anything. Basically an isolated old man rambling out loud, wherever the impulse takes him, he goes there and then stops when it does.

Now the question is this - does what the delightful sane as hell insanity of where the inspiration leads him make up for the marking time that occurs when it doesn't?

If it does, then hey, Sonny Rollins!

And if it doesn't, well hey, Sonny Rollins.

I would submit though, that what you get when you get it is something that you will not find anywhere else, so still - Sonny Rollins. What if anything that's gonna be worth to you, that's entirely up to you.

And if it's not worth too much of anything, don't blame the rambling old man. He's more than happy this way. You gonna fuck with a happy old man?

i wouldn't want to be without either-- (re)watch "Zabriskie Point" for another sage use of Patti.

Thanks to Pee Wee King also.

Edited by MomsMobley

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

as the last couple of posts deals with why rollins was not more successfull in identifying hornplayers in the db blindfold test, i want try to reinstate the question reg the choices of musicians rollins made following his second recording hiatus (1969-1972) and to which exent these influenced his further development/recording output....any further points of view ?

My view is this: Sonny wanted to play for the people, specifically the middle class. He did not want to play avant garde; he wanted to groove. In a way, he took a very challenging stance: to force his hardcore jazz audience to accept musicians like Stanley Clarke, George Duke and Larry Coryell as real, substantive jazz musicians. He reaffirmed that melody, rhythm and (perhaps most of all) approachability were core to his jazz experience. He wanted to be the opposite of an elitist.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To hear what a vacuum cleaner in reverse sounds like Stateside I pulled off a dusty copy of Trio Fascination.

I quite like what I heard but I guess there's a reason thus has lain unplayed in a decade. It's certainly not bad just not too fascinating :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

who is the guitarist in that Tennessee Waltz video? Some nice ideas but incredibly sloppy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

who is the guitarist in that Tennessee Waltz video? Some nice ideas but incredibly sloppy.

Jerome Harris played on Sonny's 1991 recording "Here's To The People," so I'm gonna guess it's him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

as the last couple of posts deals with why rollins was not more successfull in identifying hornplayers in the db blindfold test, i want try to reinstate the question reg the choices of musicians rollins made following his second recording hiatus (1969-1972) and to which exent these influenced his further development/recording output....any further points of view ?

My view is this: Sonny wanted to play for the people, specifically the middle class. He did not want to play avant garde; he wanted to groove. In a way, he took a very challenging stance: to force his hardcore jazz audience to accept musicians like Stanley Clarke, George Duke and Larry Coryell as real, substantive jazz musicians. He reaffirmed that melody, rhythm and (perhaps most of all) approachability were core to his jazz experience. He wanted to be the opposite of an elitist.

Music for the plebs?

4ddcf42a856db.jpg

Hey, the guy just wanted to waltz.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

truthfully, he wanted to make as much money as possible. Not that there's anything wrong with that.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

as the last couple of posts deals with why rollins was not more successfull in identifying hornplayers in the db blindfold test, i want try to reinstate the question reg the choices of musicians rollins made following his second recording hiatus (1969-1972) and to which exent these influenced his further development/recording output....any further points of view ?

My view is this: Sonny wanted to play for the people, specifically the middle class. He did not want to play avant garde; he wanted to groove. In a way, he took a very challenging stance: to force his hardcore jazz audience to accept musicians like Stanley Clarke, George Duke and Larry Coryell as real, substantive jazz musicians. He reaffirmed that melody, rhythm and (perhaps most of all) approachability were core to his jazz experience. He wanted to be the opposite of an elitist.

interesting thoughts....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Truthfully, I think/know(based on interviews), that he went into the 70s after having spent the 50s and 60s not being happy as a bandleader, everybody - as he felt it to be - wanting to do their thing instead of just supporting him so he could do his thing. People gonna say oh, well, there you have it, further witdrawal disinterest in engagment, etc. and sure, ok yeah. OTOH, it's vanity to the extreme, OTOH, it's his life and his playing, why would he embrace outside obstacles, just for "show"? Argue responisbility to art all day long, it might be right but its not relevant to what actually happened. So,the move towards familiar faces who knew what he wanted. Also falls in line with handing his business over to his wife and nephew, and the willingness to keep making records at Milestone - more self-containment, movement towards further realization of Perfect Sonny Rollins World - make enough money to not have to come out of the practice room anymore than absolutely necessary. I've bit very little doubt that if he could have found a way to live respectably/decently by just practicing all day every day, he would have.

I don't think it at all coincidental that he's become more visible & gregarious in the public arena since his wife passed, and especially since he's been unable to play. It's one thing to withdraw when you got a support system running interference, it's quite another to be left alone with no other option than to be alone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Sonny was afraid of failure.

A sort of Jazz Globetrotter, always knocking the hell out of the NY Generals.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Truthfully, I think/know(based on interviews), that he went into the 70s after having spent the 50s and 60s not being happy as a bandleader, everybody - as he felt it to be - wanting to do their thing instead of just supporting him so he could do his thing. People gonna say oh, well, there you have it, further witdrawal disinterest in engagment, etc. and sure, ok yeah. OTOH, it's vanity to the extreme, OTOH, it's his life and his playing, why would he embrace outside obstacles, just for "show"? Argue responisbility to art all day long, it might be right but its not relevant to what actually happened. So,the move towards familiar faces who knew what he wanted. Also falls in line with handing his business over to his wife and nephew, and the willingness to keep making records at Milestone - more self-containment, movement towards further realization of Perfect Sonny Rollins World - make enough money to not have to come out of the practice room anymore than absolutely necessary. I've bit very little doubt that if he could have found a way to live respectably/decently by just practicing all day every day, he would have.

I don't think it at all coincidental that he's become more visible & gregarious in the public arena since his wife passed, and especially since he's been unable to play. It's one thing to withdraw when you got a support system running interference, it's quite another to be left alone with no other option than to be alone.

another interesting aspect, thnx for sharing...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Sonny was afraid of failure.

Then again, who isn't?

I mean, that's good as far as it goes, but...I think that's too easy. I mean, look at his playing all through the 1960s, there's live shots aplenty, and although I hear a lot of things on any given gig, "fear" is not one of them.

What I do hear, though, it that working for Sonny Rollins in the 50s and especially in the 60s, was one weird ass gig. There are stories aplenty of Sonny being, shall we say, a "not nice" person to work for/with. And he's on record of saying that in the 50s, during his worse period of addiction, that he did some things that he remains deeply ashamed of (and knowing what junkies can do, who knows what that entails...and really, who cares?)

When he retired this last time, he really was looking to quit playing altogether, went to India, not to see the Maharishi for a weekend, but to study yoga, figured that would be his new life, a yoga instructor. Stayed several months, I believe. Came back home yadaydayada, there the "famous" picture of a happy healthy Sonny mowing his yard, peace at last, serenity through yardwork, we've all been there, at least some of us have, and I will personally vouch for the therapeutic value of it.

Point of all this just being taht I think that Mr. Rollins reached a point inside himself where he decided that he needed to play the saxophone, but he did not want to become the weirdass nastyfuck that he knew he could become if he jut went along unfiltered. I think he decided, rightly or wrongly, that in order to have both, he was going to ahve to do things differently this time, and that meant staying in the practice room and not going out into the Big World with hot dangerous bands and making records like his life depended on it, because by this point he knew that they didn't.

He's been back 40+years now, and if you're interested enough to go looking, there's still those times when he's freakin' inter-dimensionally supra-genius. And only in the last decade or so,maybe not even that, has he appeared to have even the faintest interest in living in Perfect Sonny Rollins World.

To you it might be motivated by fear, to him it might just be him finding what works best for him to have his own peace of his own mind.

I'm not at all troubled by his decision, and I'm not really troubled by people not digging whatever it is they think they hear out of him over the last 40 years. But it does kind of bug me that when somebody like Jackie McLean or Sonny, or whoever decides to put the preservation of their own sanity ahead of their "art" that fanpeople scoff and feel betrayed. They don't owe "us" anything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.