Jazz Hall Radio - FM 91.1 - WAJH - Birmingham

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Today’s Jazz Feature

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(from JazzTimes) “Toward the end of the 1950s, the already renowned tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins managed to kick his addiction to heroin. But he soon realized that getting clean of one drug wouldn’t free him from other temptations: cigarettes, alcohol, unhealthy food. Nor could it wipe away all the bad energy—insecurity, anger, envy, depression—that coursed through the life of a working jazz musician. And so, with the support of his wife Lucille, Rollins resolved to take a sabbatical from the stage and the recording studio, beginning in the summer of 1959 and lasting roughly two years. Instead of paying gigs, he oriented his time around personal health and spiritual growth. He drastically changed his diet, took up yoga, lifted weights, and engaged in other regular, intense exercise… Most famously of all, he brought his horn to the Williamsburg Bridge, near his apartment on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, for epic solo practice sessions in the open air, hour after hour, night after night.”

In his new book Saxophone Colossus: The Life and Music of Sonny Rollins (written with Rollins’ full participation), Aidan Levy expertly examines this crucial period.


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