The Bridge – Sonny Rollins (1962)

“Between 1953 and 1959, the jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins released twenty-one full-length albums. This  kind of prolificacy seems absurd now, during an era in which new musical  material is meted out on a preordained, market-friendly schedule—a few  weeks of recording, a year or two of touring, a cashed paycheck, repeat. But music rushed out of Rollins, like an overfed river. Miles Davis described Rollins’s output circa 1954 as ‘something else. Brilliant.’ In  his book ’Black Music,’ the critic and poet Amiri Baraka—then writing as LeRoi Jones—called his  music ‘staggering.’ Baraka suggested that Rollins, along with John Coltrane and the pianist Cecil Taylor, was doing the necessary work ‘to propose jazz again as the freest of Western music.’ Then, in 1959, Rollins stopped. He was twenty-eight years old. According to ‘Who Is Sonny Rollins,’ a short BBC documentary from 1968, Rollins—who had been addicted to heroin in the late nineteen-forties and early fifties but sweated it out at the Lexington Narcotics Farm, a combination federal prison and rehabilitation facility, in Lexington, Kentucky—was exhausted by what he understood as a culture of nonstop degradation. Unsavory promoters, seedy clubs,’the whiskey.’ I imagine he’d simply grown desperate for something less decadent and wayward—a self-imposed hiatus from a life style that he knew could devastate him. These moments of reckoning—in which something that once felt exciting begins to seem noxious, mephitic, dangerous—are important to heed. (I think of Bob Dylan, leaving Juárez in the rain: ‘I’m going back to New York City,’ he sang. ‘I do believe I’ve had enough.’) For jazz musicians, ‘woodshedding’ refers to the taking of a kind of lunatic sabbatical—a retreat to some isolated idyll, wherein the artist disconnects from his community and plays relentlessly and with a pathological focus. The goal is not so much output as self-betterment. …”
New Yorker: A Quest to Rename the Williamsburg Bridge for Sonny Rollins
W – The Bridge (Sonny Rollins album)
NY Times: Sax and Sky by Sonny Rollins
amazon: The Bridge, Black Music – LeRoi Jones
vimeo: Sonny Rollins with Paul Jeffrey 28:16
YouTube: The Bridge (Live)
YouTube: The Bridge (1962) (Full Album), SONNY ROLLINS on Monk and The Bridge

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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