This is where you can leave your comments, questions, and more for Sonny. He reads everything that appears here, but cannot promise to respond .
Hi Sonny, I’d have like million things to say to you, but I try to keep this short.
I cannot ever thank you enough for music you have offered for us. As a tenor saxophonist myself, your music has great influence on my playing. I also admire your thoughts about living happy and healty life. Money shouldn’t make anyone happy, happiness comes from more important things, like music. One of my biggest dreams is to see you performing live, I had ticket for your last years concert in North sea jazz festival and I was really dissapointed when I heard it was cancelled. Hope you still have enough strength and healthiness to have concert in Europe soon.
Anyway thank you for reading, take care and keep blowing!
Dear Sonny i hope i can see you some day in Argentina, please come and visit us.
Dear Sonny Rollins,
My daughter Abigail is a huge fan of yours. She loves to listen to your music. I was hoping to give her your autograph for her college graduation from UC Davis June 2015. It would mean so much to her to have your best wishes, thank you so much for all you time, talent, and passion.
2215 Geary Drive,
Santa Rosa, CA
I am a tenth grade student in Ridgefield Connecticut, not far from where you live. My goal for the last two years was to play in our exclusive small Jazz Band at my High School and this year that happened for me. Every day I listen to Jazz and I am always blown away by your works, my favorite is Decision. I listen to it almost every night and aspire to play like you some day.
If I had a bucket list, one of the items on the list would to be to meet you if you would be open to that. You are a legend and it would be an honor to meet you just to shake your hand. I hope to hear from you.
You likely don’t remember this, but I, along with my girlfriend at the time, saw you at the Vanguard one night in 1973 (I’d just turned 21). It was a very intense concert and there was a tremendous amount of eye-contact with you. About six weeks later, I ran into you at Rayburn Music in Boston (I was buying my first classical guitar) and you not only remembered me, but perfectly described the woman I was with!
I was a fan long before and have enjoyed your music since, but that was one of the most intense and profound music-listening experiences I’ve been blessed with.
Thank you for the pleasure and the insights through music you’ve shared over all these years,
P.S. Sorry for the multiple websites, but I work in images (photography), music (guitars) and spirit (rabbinic site). It’s a way to share back with you.
dear mr. rollins: My name is terrie and I hope you can help. My father was George Morrow and my mother Glenine Cramer. I was wondering if you had any info on George, any footage of him playing. My mother passed away in 1972 and I only got to meet my father a few times before her passing. I recently found out he has also passed(1992). Any info and/or film footage would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, sir, for your time. God Bless. Sincerely, Terrie Cramer.
Dear Mr. Rollins,
I appreciate the music you have created and shared with world over your stellar career. Among the many albums you’ve created among my favorites “Rollins Plays for Bird”, “Alfie”, “Bags Groove”, “Max Roach +4″, “and my favorite “Jazz Contrasts”, with my dad Kenny Dorham.
I had the pleasure to meet Mr. Primack in 2013 and expressed my wish to be in touch and say hello.
Maybe in the near future we will have a chance to say hello.
Peace in jazz,
We’re interested in knowing availability&fees for Sonny Rollins for the 26 Teatro Libre Jazz Festival, Sept. 3-6, 2014.
I was so touched by the comment left by the 10th grade high school student above. I was just about that age when I discovered jazz and “A Night at the Village Vanguard” was one of the first albums I ever owned. Flash forward a few years, I’m a college student in NYC and you come back from a sabbatical to play the Vanguard–don’t remember the guys you had in your band except for the late Walter Booker on bass. My first exposure to live Rollins, and an unforgettable performance that I still remember well over 40 years later. I’ve seen you many times over the years and you never fail to “lift the bandstand” in Monk’s unforgettable phrase. You are a great American and may you be with us in good health for many more years.
Bill Beran, Norwalk, Connecticut
Sonny! Help! I had a stroke, affected my right side. I gave up waiting and started teaching myself the sax anyway, but my little finger especially has no feeling. Can you suggest any way to play a low e flat without the little finger? I try Donna Lee every day and beyond the lack of speed and other mechanics, I cannot get feeling without that e flat. I listen to all your stuff, from then to now-ish, and if anybody has mastered every possible way to a make a sound on the sax, it is you.
By the way, I find your playing is very inspiring, pop to free, you sound like you really make a true bond of playing from the soul/gut and thought/brain. I can barely wait for Road Show 3.
Thanks for this site.
Dear Mr. Rollins, Thank you so much for your music. Hearing “Mambo Bounce” for the first time was a huge musical milestone in my life…comparable to hearing Beethoven’s 9th, Verdi’s “Requiem,” Straviinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” Ellington, Billie Holiday, Davis’s Kinda Blue album, The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s album, and Philip Glass. I have never had the chance to see you play, but hope you play the Kansas City area soon so I can have the privilege.
Hi Sonny.Hope you are doing well.
I just want to know when you are planning to play at a NYC venue ?.I have never saw you live and its my dream to do so.I live on Long Island and also willing to travel to other states in the tri-state area.Sonny please !!
Mi estimado y admirado Sonny Rollins,
En el programa de radio que transmito en mi ciudad, Querétaro, Qro. México, he pasado muchos de sus discos generados con su gran talento y el de los músicos que lo acompañaron.
El próximo 1 de mayo el programa cumplirá 31 años al aire y en esos 31 años usted ha estado presente. Por tal motivo, el sábado 3 de mayo proyectaremos el DVD con sus grabaciones en vivo de 1965 y 1968 en su gira por Dinamarca junto a Alan Dawson, Kenny Drew y Niels Pedersen.
El aporte que usted ha dado al jazz es invaluable. Me congratula el reconocimiento que le fue dado en el Kennedy Center.
Espero que alguno de sus colaboradores le comparta mi mensaje en inglés.
Le reitero mi más grande admiración.
Gracias por su música y Dios le bendiga.
Sinceramente, David Balderas
Hello Mr. Rollins,
I have read that you have some health problems relating to your lungs and cannot perform. I also read an interview that said you moved to Woodstock, NY. I once wrote you about a very special healthy type of water called Kangen water. I have a friend in Woodstock who would be glad to give you some of this water to drink for a while, so you could see the effects of it. This is water made by a medical device from Japan, that has been used in hospitals there for over 35 years and there are many studies on it. I really hope and believe it could benefit your health.
If you are interested in more info on it, please visit http://www.kangen1usa.com and also feel free to contact me at 917 509 3256 or by email.
All the best,
I want to thank you for the great music you have bestowed on this Earth. I am a saxophone major studying jazz performance, and I listen to your albums (specifically A Night at the Village Vanguard) very frequently. I hope someday to get a chance to see you play live, and hopefully at some point get a chance to meet you!
I just want to let you know that you are a wonderful inspiration to me. After losing my partner a couple of years ago, I have decided to become a full time hermit and play my saxophone more seriously than ever. I have let go of other interests and endeavours to focus on one of the things I love the best. Unlike so many technically advanced players, you move me with your playing.
Lots of love to you and all the best.
Hi Sonny, I hope you feeling good. I´m a great fan of your music and I have all your CDs and many LPs but no autographed LP or CD. How can I get an autographed CD or LP. Happy Easter, all the best to you and many greetings from Gunter.
I hope you’re well and still full of life. Can you say if you will be touring again soon, either worldwide or in America?
GREETINGS TO THE GREAT SONNY ROLLINS
DON’T KNOW YOU PERSONALLY BUT I CAN NOTSAY ENOUGH ABOUT YOUR PLAYING . I AM FROM CINCINNATI ,OHIO AND HAVE A GRANDFATHER(FROM THE BRONX) AND HE STILL PLAYS JAZZ DRUMS NOW WELL INTO HIS EIGHTIES. HIS CLAIM TO FAME IS PLAYING WITH BUDDY JOHNSON AND ROY MERRIWEATHER AMOUNG OTHERS. WHILE ON THE ROAD AND IN NEW YORK HE REMEMBERS YOU WELL.
I ALSO HAVE AN INTERESTING FACT ABOUT A GROUP FROM CINCINNATI IN THE 1950’S NAMED THE 511 PENITENTIARY BAND WITH A ALTO SAX PLAYER NAMED LOGAN ROLLINS.I BELIEVE LOGAN ROLLINS WAS A FAMILY MEMBER. HE ALSO PRODUCED AND PLAYED GREAT MUSIC IN THE CINCINNATI AREA.
A PARTNER AND MYSELF WE HAVE A JAZZ SHOW EVERY SUNDAY 8-10 PM( SUNDAY EVENING JAZZ FROM THE INSIDE) http://WWW.WAIF88.3FM.
TUNE IN IF YOU CAN!
THANKS FOR YOUR TIME.
THANKS FOR BEIN YOU
I’ve been lucky to have seen you play a number of times, especially one memorable cutting contest with Branford Marsalis. I first heard you play in 1980 while working at the NPR jazz station in Buffalo. Your “God Bless the Child” won’t be forgotten.
Speaking of children, mine are ages 11 and 9. They are solid jazz fans and fans of you (and Ben Webster) in particular. We have it in our hearts that you will play in New York City again and that they can see you. I will do everything I can to make sure they will be there when the chance comes.
Thank you for all you have given us. I hope this note finds you happy and comfortable.
A very warm ,gentle hug from UK !
No news of any UK visit or gig in the foreseeable future……….
Just wondering if anything is in the planning ?
Sad as I was that you were unable to perform last year in Saint Louis, I wish you the best in regaining your strength so that I might have the opportunity to see you play. I’m a jazz musician myself and my friend and I deeply admire your music, in fact, one of my favorite songs to jam on is your composition “Doxy”.
Never forget your performance in 1983 at the Museum of Modern Art’s Summergarden concert series — my first internship in High School — what an amazing thing to see you improvise with the sounds of NYC cabs outside the walls of the venue. I hop to see you perform again soon.
Hi Sonny, just want to say that I have been a huge fan for years, keep on keepin on ! I also understand you are a neighbor right down the road from my place in Woodstock, so welcome ! As the title say’s it all ” There Will Never Be Another You ” Keep it up.
As I listen to your NPR interview, I’m reminded of how often my mother, Mutasha Muhammad (aka Annette Bobo), spoke of and played your work! She made music an integral part of my life and I’ve passed the lesson on to my children, who both play piano and are familiar with violin, flute, clarinet, and ukelele!
Just thinking about you. Hope you’re well and we love and miss you very much.
I am a young 56 and am following a dream to learn the tenor sax. Your music is an inspiration to learn and enjoy the sax. Thanks
My dream to play tenor sax like you never happened. When I got my first job after college I purchased a Selmer Mark VI because I had always played alto sax but dreamed of playing tenor sax. That was back in the 1970’s and my career direction never allowed me to pursue that dream. So now I am moving toward retirement and still have my Selmer Mark VI which needs a new home. I effectively never used this instrument……The finish is impeccable. Sonny, do you or your network of associates know of someone that might be interested in acquiring that instrument? Let me know and thanks for all that you do!
Mr. Rollins, I am a recently discovered that I love jazz—jazz fan and when asked what kind of jazz I like, I answer, “Sonny Rollins, of course”. My parents loved jazz but I always thought it was for old folks. Well, here I am at 49 -ish and absolutely love jazz! My favorite CD’s are The Bridge, East Broadway Run Down and Saxophone Colossus! I hope one day to hear you in person.
Thank you for your beautiful music!
I want to thank you for all the great music and for inspiring people, including myself. When i started studying jazz guitar “no moe” was one of the first tunes i learned to play and i still catch myself whistling it from time to time.
Recently in an interview i read about your experience with yoga in relation to improvising. I found this very interesting, when i’m improvising i often find myself in situations where i’m overthinking or i’m to easily distracted. The problem is that there is so much information on the topic of yoga in general, i really don’t know where to start looking. It would be really cool if you could share some relevant sources, experiences, methods, exercises, tips… if possible, it would help a lot.
I wish you the very best and hope you come play in Belgium again sometime,
Hi, Mr. Rollins! I’m brazilian and I greatly appreciate your work. I wonder if you will come at some opportunity for Brazil. Or if possible, provide a schedule on their website, so we can keep up. Thank you, all good!
sonny! how was it to play with hawk back then? what was special about the session and newport gig?
Your inner soul light inspires my alto sax.Greetings from shiny Greece mr Rollins!
Great interview w/ George Bettinger on the Mom and PoP shop!!!
Thank you Sonny!!!
Hiya Mr. Rollins,
I just heard you on the Mom&Pop Shop
and I was truly inspired, you were positively a
Delight – Take Care and Be Well
I just listened to your interview with George Bettinger on the Mom and Pop show. It was on dreamstreamradio.com. It was lovely listening to you and hearing your music.! God bless you!
Hello Sonny, I would like to thank you for your advice to develop the lowest note of the tenor saxophone and then make all of your other notes as much like that one. I first heard of this about 1972 and I have stuck to that ever since. I recently read that you really like a Buescher tenor that you used to kiss goodnight and still own but do not play because it is not heavy enough in sound. I could really help you with that. There is a two fold anwer:1.you need a high powered engine, and could have one of my 205gm spun cast solid sterling silver J&D rod rubber Hite copies and I use a Rovner ligature and in my old age I use Vandoren #3.5s I used to use #3.5s and sometimes #5s on my 11* Florida Supertone LInk which Ben Harrod specially made for me in 1974. I was trying to catch up to King Curtis at the time but had a duodenal hemorrhage in 1980 which stopped that project but I pressed on with the 11* till I used to get triple high Cs really easily until I got diverticulitis. From about 1985 hower, I sobered up and gave up the high note thing and really loved my first and only rod rubber mouthpiece the J&D Hite. It absorbs too much sound so I begged David Hite to make me a copy in sterling silver and he, not liking metal mouthpieces said, why not make it yourself, so I did and you may benefit also, I would give it to you as a gift of appreciation. You had it all in 1959 with that King Super 20 was it a silversonic? I had to settle for a late model but it still annhilated MKVIs. I have a saxophone, a world first which is my second recommendation for you. It is electropalte encapsulated with 100 microns of copper INSIDE on the bore, and the same outside then 20 microns silver plating inside and outside and one micron of gold inside and outside. The only problem is that it was an old Julius Kielworth New King, and needs special work, but its sound is the most powerful, deep and heavy and flexible even so. If you are interested email me on email@example.com. PS; You could reward Adolph Sax by helping fulfil his unfulfilled dream, that of acceptance of the saxophone in the symphony orchestra. Try Playing the right hand of J S Bach’s two piano concertos BWV1052 in D minor, I play this as written which then becomes C minor concert, it sounds much better in D minor on the tenor than in E minor, the later is too tinny but easier fingering. the other is BWV 1056 in F minor. Type in David Fray, Largo and Presto and play along with him on the right hand or left hand in G minor it is great.
Got your new album – Road Shows 3 – listened to it the whole day today. Love it so much.
Best of wishes and much L-O-V-E
Over 40 years ago I went to see a boy from my gang to tell him where we were going to meet later. When he opened the door, I heard some music I knew and loved. “What are you listening to?” “Sonny Rollins” he said. That was the first time I really looked at him, and I liked what I saw. He was also impressed – a girl who likes jazz!! so he looked at me too, and he must have liked what he saw, because we have been happily together since – married for 33 years. Still listening to jazz, and particularly fond of your music. Thank you.
Dear Sonny Rollins,
I want to thank you for leading a life that so beautifully celebrates music, love, and the human spirit. May it be a model for us all. I was viewing a documentary about you today, Father’s Day, and recalled that I purchased my first Sonny Rollins album when my own (wonderful and creative) father passed as I was starting college. Your music became important to me then and has remained so for 35 years. I have been fortunate to attend your live performances (most recently in Detroit in 2012) that were nothing short of thrilling. I am enjoying the Road Show recordings as well as the rest. Thanks again for all that you do. May peace and blessings be yours. With sincere appreciation, Stuart
My condolences on the loss of your friend, the beautiful musician and composer Horace Silver. I’m thinking of what you said somewhere in an interview, when asked about your composition H.S. You said you think of Horace Silver as a courageous man and musician. His inspiring music lives on.
Much LOVE, Barbara
I have just discovered your cd “This is what I do” and I am enjoying it very much. Thank you for making so much great music over the years.
My friend John and I both wish you well and we hope to see you perform again in Philadelphia.
Dear Mr Rollins,
I am 14 years old and have been playing tenor for 2 years and loving it more than anything else in the whole wide world. And it wouldn’t of been possible without you. At 12, i was given a CD by my Mum titled Saxophone Colossus (maybe you have heard of it, hahaha) and you enchanted me so i just wanted to say…
But to my question. After being inspired by you from a young age and picking up tenor I finally have reached a point in my playing so that I have the ability to improvise. Because I believe it takes a good musician to play a song (especially by you) but an even greater musician to create his own. So could you possibly find some time to email me explaining how to create and release my own song. Ohh and please come to South Australia, i would feel honored if I could hear you in person.
so so much pleasure, confidence, energy and clearity given to me by your presence, by your sound and also by your wonderful thoughts and words.
NOW I know a question I would have really liked to ask on that Google Hangout date May 2014, though I am not a saxophone player:
How come that “Nucleus” album?
What could ever happen around you that, to me, music on every single tune seems to start with Mr. Maupins solos, ending when another one takes over – despite of all you wonderful musicians (I know from many recordings before and after this album)?
You know, I tried a few times to find out what I am not hearing, though it was a little stressy to hear those sounds – finally I got no idea. Sorry for writing this that directly.
One of the brightest things in my life (besides my kids, and having heard Monk, and Waldron live, Jimi Hendrix, Marley, and music at all) is that I had the chance to see and hear you live, to hear and think about and spread your words.
Thank you so much, dear Sonny / Mr. Rollins!
All the best to you
aka. alles Gute!
I hope everything alright for you. I listen to you you always give the joy and energy.
You inspire me all the time. Take care and God bless you.
Just read the satire piece from the New Yorker magazine. I enjoy satire as much as the next person and believe that I have a real appreciation for satire, however I don’t see this piece as being the least bit funny. You are truly an icon and one of my jazz heroes. I hope you live even longer and continue to make great music.
Just watched your live interview addressing your feelings about the ridiculous article that appeared in the New Yorker. You always have your head screwed on right so I almost knew what you were going to say. Bottom Line: Pay attention to doing the right thing individually and don’t worry about the other stuff. You’re always so wise and balanced and therefore I love listening to anything/everything you have to impart.
I have been a fan of yours since the ’60s and my respect, appreciation and admiration have only grown with the years. It was a thrill also to first meet you in the mid-’60s when our mutual buddy, Walter Bishop, Jr. introduced us at Wells in Harlem. Mem-o-ries!
I will be looking forward to hearing you next year and in the meantime, keep getting stronger. By the way, you looked hearty and healthy in the video.
Blessings and love to you, always and forever.
Just wanted say thank you so much for your beautiful music and beautiful spirit . I really enjoyed listening to your message about doing the right thing as an individual in these turbulent times we live in. Jazz is real ! Much love Sonny.
PS You’re looking good in Red !
Hello Mr. Rollins,
Funding for jazz is a big issue right now. Can you think of some things that would improve the way jazz is taught?
First of all: I hope so much you are doing well!
Thank you so much for your highly inspired and inspiring response to the TNY piece – you are beautiful.
The piece hurt me too – I feel so ashamed for what this mean guy did.
The creation, collaboration, and the gift of this art proves there is another dimension we can’t describe that is of pureness and perfection. Thank you for your inspiration to make us better spirits living in out human existence and reality. We know there’s much more to come… Blessings to you Mr. Rollins!
Sonny, regarding the New Yorker thing, thank you for your measured and understanding response to what was basically and idiotic, failed attempt at humour. You gave me so much pleasure in your live performances, and I can only think that if anyone wants to know what “humour” is, is its most humanistic and uplifting form… well, there it was, in your improvisations. Thank you Sonny.
Dear Sonny, Thank you for your eloquent reply regarding the New Yorker piece and for speaking out on behalf of jazz. We have written a letter to the editor (text copied below) of the New Yorker condemning this gross abuse of journalistic and technological power, we hope others will do the same.
From two American musicians in Strasbourg, France
Rick Hannah & Susan Vaillant
(letter to editor of New Yorker)
I have read and subscribed to the New Yorker for over 40 years. I am disgusted that the New Yorker would publish and falsely attribute to Sonny Rollins an anti-jazz tirade. Jazz has always been a minority art form, intensely beloved by many but too uncommercial to be more widely successful. Most people know little about jazz and will simply assume, with the New Yorker’s signature, that these statements represent the feelings of a jazz great. If previously the New Yorker distinguished itself with its jazz critic Whitney Balliett; now the New Yorker is bullying jazz. What did jazz ever do to the New Yorker to deserve such bullying? The New Yorker is bullying not only a jazz great in his own right but perhaps the last jazz great who played with nearly all the giants of jazz since the 1940s. In that measure he represents the history of jazz, the history of America’s one authentically original art form. You have attacked America’s cultural patrimony. An unequivocal and unambiguous apology, a public apology in the print edition and on the Internet, is due, and this should cite Sonny’s own wise words about jazz. Your continued silence will otherwise be considered a condoning of this new form of yellow anti-arts journalism and I will have no other choice but to cancel my subscription.
I want to thank you for your music. I currently play tenor saxophone and I consider you a master of tenor saxophone. I’m from Italy but currently I’m taking my vacation in catskills at Callicoon. Is it possible to meet you? It would be great to talk with you about jazz music .
A big hug
I know that anything I say here has probably already been said before, however I’d really like to let you know that I find everything about you and your music to be so inspiring. I know you’ll get through this minor setback at the moment . Please, I ask you, as a fan do not stop playing! It would mean the world to me if you could play in Canada! I get that that would be unrealistic but hey, it’s worth a shot. After all, you’ve already blown everyone’s minds before, so why not knock ‘em dead again? Take care and keep on swingin
Thank you so much, Mr. Rollins, for your music and your willingness to express your thoughts and feelings about what you have experienced in your life through music. I recently was deeply moved by something you spoke about in a Google Hangout piece entitled “Spirituality and Improvisation.” The concept that each note one plays–regardless of his or her level of proficiency–can be an access-point to the transcendent beauty in the structures of jazz really spoke to me. As an older student who has loved your music for decades, but only recently returned to playing an instrument, that comment was very encouraging. My teacher tells me to look for the thirds and sevenths for instance, and I imagine these as parts of a reality like a path or something that can be felt as one plays, just like the ground can be felt as one walks–and you can immediately tell if your footing is right or not by how it feels. I hope someday I can learn this terrain enough to appreciate its beauty fully. So thanks so much from my heart for your encouraging comments that speak to people at all levels.
I am a junior at Graham Kapowsin High School in Graham, Washington. I am a very active and involved member in the band program at my school. I serve as the principal French horn in the wind ensemble and as the principal trombone in Jazz Ensemble I. Jazz has always been a major influence in my life. In fact, I am planning on obtaining a minor in jazz performance, as well as a major in horn performance.
I had the pleasure of meeting the great Conrad Herwig last year. One of the segments of his talk explained how as a jazz musician, one should listen to musicians both on your respective instrument and on other instruments. This being said, I have listened to your music repertoire extensively. Many of your standard tunes such as “St. Thomas” and “Doxy” are among my favorites. Your unique playing style is exquisite and unbelievably inspirational. I would like to sincerely thank you for the contribution that you have made to jazz. You have inspired me and countless other people.
Every year my high school and the neighboring middle school host a jazz festival. This is such a wonderful opportunity for the many students and bands that attend. Through the festival, we are keeping the spirit of jazz alive and honoring the great jazz legends of the past and present by continuing to play their amazing music. Jazz is America’s first and foremost unique musical style, whether it be swing, blues, bebop, or any other style. As the great Lois Armstrong once said, “Hot can be cool & cool can be hot & each can be both. But hot or cool man, Jazz is Jazz.” Festivals like this ensure that jazz will not only be remembered, but will be played and celebrated for centuries to come. In the past, we have had many famous jazz musicians visit our festival and participate in our evening concert. Some of these musicians include Eric Marienthal, Byron Stripling, and Conrad Herwig. In March, we will be celebrating our 23rd annual jazz festival. I would like to personally invite you to attend our festival as our special guest. It would be an honor to have one of the greatest jazz musicians and tenor saxophonists in history visit our jazz festival. Thank you for your time and your contributions to jazz.
I’m thrilled to hear that you plan to be back on the bandstand in 2015! I hope that NYC is one of the venues that you’re considering. I was at your 80th birthday concert at Beacon Theater, and it was magical. All the best, and continued good health. Much love to you.
Dear Mr. Rollins;
I am an admirer of your work and saw your amazing concert in the Boston area around 2000. I am also the daughter of jazz trumpeter Emmett Berry, whom I believe you knew and possibly worked with. I see you and my father are both in the iconic “Great Day in Harlem” photo. My father retired when I was a child and never spoke about the music business after that. I learned a little about his career mainly from my mother, but I lost her in 1990, fairly early in my life.
If you knew my father and/or played with him, would you mind sharing any memories you may have of him? It would mean a lot to me, as I have been trying to learn more about his career.
I read the New Yorker piece in question and was appalled, as well as very much amused, by the piece. I also saw a response video by you. I am a tenor player and, of course, a huge fan of yours. You must know that in no way can your reputation nor your place in the tradition of Jazz be in any way be even dented to the slightest degree by a humorous piece like this one. Its just art – like jazz.
To Our King of theTtenor
Happy 84th Birthday.
I wanted to express my appreciation for all your musical contributions to the world, and to me.
I started playing the tenor saxophone when I was 11 (I’m now 18) for school band. I chose the saxophone because I had previously heard your music. It inspired me, touched my soul, made me see music and myself as a musician in a completely new light. I started using the saxophone as a means of escape from my home life. Without going into detail, I can say that I had a bad childhood. I was suffering through depression for many of my teen years, and practicing the sax almost all he time was my way to help cope with my situation. I remember trying to learn many of your solos the first couple of weeks I got the instrument and not even coming close to what I’d thought I’d start off like. Now I’m a very accomplished jazz saxophonist, but even in the beginning stages it brought me to another world, a world that I enjoyed and loved much more then the one I was in before.
Present day, I’ve since gotten through and dealt with my depression, and I owe a lot of that to you. Directly or indirectly, you saved my life.
Today I started watching some Q&A sessions you were having with people, and it literally put me to tears. I obviously don’t know you personally (and it’s always been my dream to see you play live), but you seem just as amazing a person as you are a musician. The things you’ve had to say and the advice you’ve given to people over the years that I’ve listened to have helped me immensely, both as a musician and on a personal level.
So thank you. Thank you so much for everything you’ve done. I feel like I owe you so much, even though we’ve never spoken directly. But your music, passion, and words have spoken to me, and it has spoken to countless others around the world. I can’t express my appreciation enough.
Music is sharing and my life is music. I am not a musician, I am a collector who puts music in historical context.
I am a Nursing Home Administrator who turned 52 on the 3rd. Realizing that life is fleeting, I make it a Point to communicate my appreciation of others in the here and now.
While reflecting on my own Birthday, I recalled that yours was on the 7th. I wish you the warmest birthday wishes as you turn a spry young 84. Age is a state of mind as, I sit listening to your music I know that you are immortal You have not aged or grown stagnant. You continue to evolve. You leave so much in your music for us all to embrace and enjoy.
I have amassed a collection of cd’s that exceeds 9,000 titles. Most people watch TV. I just listen to music. The music I listen to varies daily and cycle through many genres. My deepest love is jazz.
This past spring as I was perusing my collection (I liken it to standing in front of the refrigerator when you don’t know what you are hungry for) and choose “The Bridge.” It reawakened my love for your playing. It is now September and your albums have been in my rotation every day. I so appreciate the legacy of music that you have and continue to share.
From the bottom of my heart, I want to wish you a Happy 84th Birthday and thank you for sharing your music and your magic with the world.
happy birthday Sonny, and thank you for your great swingin’ music
A very big hug from Gallina family!
Happy birthday Sonny!
Salvatore, Flavia, Lucia and Pietro
Dear Sonny Rollins!
Please accept our heartfelt wishes on your 84th Birthday!
Thank you so much for all your wonderful music – live and on vinyl – which will be with us forever! We have attended some 24 concerts of you round the world: at last I’ve been on your 80th Birthday concert at the Beacon Theatre which I certainly never forget! Wow!
We love you, Sonny, take care, God bless you!
Verena & Werner
PS We are trying to mail you a picture of us: you then might remember us…
Thank you for all the beauty and love you have brought into this world.
I wish you a very Happy Birthday, and many, many more to come.
Sonny, Happiest of 84th Birthdays! I was having a bad day Sunday until I went out to busk and play my Mark VI tenor outside for the people. I soon found myself in the meditative state you speak of, and all was well with the world once again. I was playing along with a pop tune and “St. Thomas” popped out! I guess I was thinking of you.
You’ve been such an inspiration to me over my entire saxophone career, and I was privileged to speak with you after your concert in Detroit in 2010, on my 52nd birthday!
Much love and appreciation, and continued saxophone magic down the road.
– Jeff Newton ( from DETROIT)
Dear Mr. Rollins!
Now I and my teacher who became a jazzmen due to your “I’ve Found a New Baby” are sitting and listening your brilliant solo (8 minutes) from “Roadshows Vol.3″ – again and again.
Best wishes from Russia!
Happy Birthday Sonny from your (probably no longer) youngest fan! Noah just turned 7, and we are still great fans! We hope to hear you in concert again one day soon. We still enjoy listening to all of your recordings, but hearing you play live is such a joy!
Noah Mike & Catherine
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SONNY. YOU ARE THE GREATEST!!
Happy Birthday Sonny!
Despite what was said in the New Yorker article,the death of JAZZ has been predicted for many years,by many people,but just like you,it keeps moving on.
Enjoy the day and listen to some music.
Happy 84th Birthday Sonny Rollins! May you have many more. Anxious to see you perform in the Midwest soon! Big Chicago Fans, Nick & Kent
Thank you for your music.
Thank you for your wisdom.
Thank you for your spirit.
Know that you are respected and loved throughout the world.
! Happy Birthday !
please perform in/nearby Portland, Oregon
* thank you* for your musical stylings + i have really in-joyed your visits to Mr. Tavis Smileys
Happy birthday Sonny. May you have many more.
I can’t find any words adequate enough to articulate how much your music means to me. It takes me to a place beyond words, beyond time, a place of pure joy and feeling. You are a treasure, and I am forever grateful to you for the gifts you have bestowed upon us for all these years. Wishing you a happy birthday, and may all your days be full of happiness and good health.
Most sincerely yours,
Happiest of happy birthdays, Mr. Rollins; thank you.
~ HAPPY (84th) BIRTHDAY, SONNY!!!
Your singular tone, keen sense of organic structure, ambidextrous timing, humorous quotes, supreme swagger, infectious personality, very personal note choice, note displacement, keen sense of drama, staccato punctuations followed by virtuosic runs, worrying a single note, ability to utilize various tonal textures within a single solo, unique use of smeared notes….All of these achievements and more, mark you as a major innovator on your beloved tenor saxophone, since the 1950’s!
You have captured the imagination of several generations of saxophonists, musicians of various genres and avid music fans, all over the world! Continue to thrive for many, many years, Sonny and know that we, your devout fans, look forward to your return to the world stage, like kids who can hardly get to sleep, on the night before Christmas!!
Thank you for being the BEST ROLE MODEL a young saxophonist could ever hope to have!
Love You Madly,
Hi Sonny, Happy Birthday and many more fruitful years! We remember your kindnesses to us over the years. We met in 1960; You received us in many places during the times we were able to attend your concerts and “gigs”. I did ring the bell on Delancey! You and Lucille treated me with kindness. She was and is a gem. Thanks you again for your excellence. Stay well,
Happy Birthday and thanks so much for the music.
A belated Happy Birthday from Chennai, South India. I cannot begin to express what your music, like that of J.S.Bach and Indian classical music means to me, so a simple thank you will have to suffice. One of my biggest regrets in life is not being able to attend your September 2010 concert at the Beacon theatre though I was visiting friends in NYC that week . I am planning my next visit to the US based almost entirely on your concert schedule and hope to catch you in a concert soon. Here’s to many, many more birthdays .
I enjoy all types of music, all day long and have been toying with an acoustic guitar for a couple of years now, but listening to jazz is an obsession, and lately, your recordings have been high on my daily hit parade. They are a true respite in a world struggling. Thank you for staying true to your muse and taking the time off that you did because it seems to have rejuvenated you a rewarded us all. I live in New Jersey, not far from the Van Gelder studios where so many jazz documents were produced. I hope to be lucky enough to attend one of your performances, someday. God Bless.
Happy Birthday, Sonny! My Daddy started me listening to your music before I could even crawl up high enough to scratch up all of his records. Daddy was born in ’32 and he was a big fan of yours. He didn’t quite make it this long with us. He died in 2009, but he sure loved the way you play the Sax. When I hear your music I think of my Daddy. Good luck to you, Mr. Rollins.
Dear Mr. Rollins,
What makes good music? People have been trying to answer this since the beginning of the first beat. However, I believe you have found the key. Passion is what brings music alive. In your music the passion you play with makes the music change from a song to a story. The music speaks to you and reveals a little more of the tale with each note you play. Brilliance is not sufficient enough in describing your music or your ideologies on philosophy. Not only are you a master of music, you also offer the world some thought and explanation of life.
I am a fan of not only your music, but your philosophy as well. However I would never had heard about you if it wasn’t for my friend Alex. He has been playing the saxophone for six years now. He absolutely thinks you are a musical genius and spends his free time looking up your ideas on philosophy or attempting to play with the same passion that you play with. Alex is a special soul. He values the little things and enjoys simplicity.Which is very rare to find in a teenage boy. I was hoping you would be making a trip down to Florida to preform a concert. However, I cannot find any events listed. So I thought I would ask you if you had a performance schedule. I was hoping to try to get tickets to see one of your shows. The thing with Alex is he is very humble and would be just as appreciative if I took him to see a local Jazz band, that just the type of guy he is. But I know he would be awestruck if we went to see you, his favorite saxophone player. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to read this email.
Your music is greatly appreciated,
I hope, while you are becoming quite of age now, you are doing alright. You’re sound (live & CD) was the reason I started to play the saxophone. Words can’t express my gratitude for that gift. So I’ll leave you to the rest of what I hope will be a good life for you. Thanks again.
Thank you for the great music. I am a pianist and often play ‘Oleo’ on my Fender Rhodes.
A while back I wrote a fast bebop composition entitled ‘Exactitude’ and would love for you to check out the sheet music at: http://www.jakehirsch.com/music/Exactitude.pdf
Please let me know what you think if you get a chance to blow through it.
this summer in ontario i wrote a poem for you:
Something about Sonny Rollins defending jazz
And talking on the phone with an old poet friend
Today while an eagle sits in the pine tree
Thirty feet from me in my white Adirondack chair
On the deck above the stony shore of the North Channel
Of Lake Huron. First I saw an eagle cross the lake
Flying away. Then one flew towards me, crying out
As another flew behind. The first went south down
The blue shore, while this one landed just above
Me. I’ve been this close to these birds before.
“At a very young age I was exposed to jazz,” Sonny says.
And I have been frequenting this lakeshore cottage
Since before it was a structure, when it was an idea,
At the foot of a trail hacked by machete, a family
Dreamed of a summer escape, and then a plan, a builder
The birch, spruce, poplar, cedar, and pine made
Home for porcupines, prickly, raccoons, masked, and
Jays, woodpeckers, crows, gulls. Over the past ten years
Eagles have returned. Returned from before my childhood.
This one faced me, and bent its neck beak, hooked, yellow
To its talons, pulling at food, likely fish skin, tearing, eating
And raising its head to cry, the mate cries back, from where
I cannot see, but the feathers ruffle, the cry has several beats,
And more between. My poet friend hears the cry in far
Off Kentucky, while I imagine jazz. As I write this I hear
Sonny Rollins, in his own words, “You’re not hurting anybody
You’re learning.” As he talks about jazz I think of the majesty
Of the great predator, so close, facing, calling, then preening,
Great dark feathers. I want to say that the Canadian
Wilderness is like American jazz. A natural music. “Don’t worry
About [what] has no bearing on you, do what you have to do, don’t worry.”
The bird has bearing on what? She flies away, my longing with her.
Sonny, please! Answer the question, if you have information. What Otto Link tenor mouthpiece used John Coltrane? Some say that it is Super Tone Master, others say Florida Super Tone Master, others say Link*5, Link*7, etc. I address it to you, because you were friends and colleagues with John, and may know exactly, what kind of. Thanks in advance and Happy 84th Birthday! Be healthy yet 100 years! You are real Saxophone Colossus! (Sorry for my “INGLISH”).
It brings such joy to me, as a long, long time fan of yours ((40 years, and owner of 47 recordings with you as leader, and many other of your recordings and performances) to read all these letters of love and inspiration being sent to you. I have devoted my music listening life to jazz, and you are the one I am so proud to call my favorite.
I know jazz should despise rankings of any kind, and maybe even the designation of favorites, but I cannot deny the truth that my ears and heart have received. There are so many great giants in this music, but you have always musically spoken to me like no other. You have always told a story in your music, a narrative in every song, and to hear that story in your sound makes the music so clear, and life so worth living.
I have listened to you at all times of my life, and you always bring me joy, inspiration, hope and appreciation for life. It seems whatever I need or want, your music picks me up and sets me straight about living life, feeling hope and treating others well.
You also write and speak so truthfully and warmly, with such spiritual beauty and kindness. To both represent the greatness of the music and the highest level of humanism and grace, I cannot thank you enough for constantly giving us these messages all together, enhancing our lives and the image of this great music.
It is the absolute least I could do, to send you my message of love and thanks, for “All The Things You Are”.
I have deeply enjoyed your music for several years and am a jazz player myself. I play guitar in a couple of jazz groups locally, but only on occasion and with friends; Your music has inspired me to become an instrumentalist in your mold. I had the opportunity to see you play in St. Louis 2 years ago, but sadly you were ill at the time and the date was cancelled. I wish you all the best and hope you can find your way to St. Louis sometime.
Best wishes and deepest admiration,
View from the Bridge nytimes.com/2015/04/26/mag…
"You can’t be in heaven and on earth at the same time." nytimes.com/interactive/20… #thebridge
Live at Newport 2008 youtube.com/watch?v=6d9HvB…
"I'd like to say a special prayer to my friend Phennie Wyatt, hoping for her speedy recovery."
Honorary Doctorate from the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the University of Hartford, this May: youtu.be/BeNZkpGA6EU
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