Sonny Rollins has been one of my favorite musicians since 10 minutes after I returned home carrying his album with the Modern Jazz Quartet following a bike ride to the Goodnow public library when I was in the fifth grade. His jock-ish energy, brawny tenor tone, and melodic invention immediately grabbed me and have sustained my love of his music ever since. I saw him live several times in the late eighties and had the chance to see him again last year (2011) at Jazzfest in New Orleans – celebrating his 80th year. In the midst of a hot afternoon, I entered the jazz tent with a bowl of quail and duck gumbo and an iced cold beer and found a chair towards the front, right under a mist hose – that is about as perfect as my life gets.
Sonny hit it with all the probing ferocity and break-neck stream-of-consciousness sound and fury that are his hallmark–My love of jazz rekindled by feeling the vibration of an elderly master still so intent on exploring the mystery of life through music. With the salty taste of roux on my lips, my thirst for the divine was quenched with cold beer and awe.