Sonny Rollins - Symphony Hall, Boston MA 4/18/2010
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
Sunday, April 18, 2010
I will admit I am a very casual jazz fan. I do have my favorites and sort of keep them close to me. Where I might have 30+ cds from Miles Davis I might only have one from Duke Ellington for example. Like many, what I know I know, and what I like I tend to really like.
Sonny Rollins has been on my radar for a few years now and I finally had the chance to see him. He had performed in Boston 5 short days after the September 11th attacks and played a slot in Newport since. It had been a long time since he had been in the area.
Arriving on stage about 7:30 pm Sonny walked slowly, slightly hobbled to the stage. The audience rose to their feet and he was showered with every bit of affection a lifetime of music had warranted.
Facing the stage you had Bobby Broom on guitar to the right, Victor See-Yuen on percussion, Kobie Watkins on drums and Bob Cranshaw on bass. Sonny would spend the bulk of the 1hr and 25 minute show on Cranshaws side, but he'd slowly move around the stage.
I don't know the set, and have been looking for it so if anyone can help. Hard to do a review when you can't offer much up, but what I can tell you is the band COOKS.
*update - various sources seem to have the set as Pantanjali, Memsa, Serenade, J.J and Global Warming as being played.*
The opening tune clocked in about 17 minutes (Pantanjali) and Sonny hardly stopped playing his tenor sax the entire time. Running up and down the notes the band was locked in to a groove with him. Broom was given a little space to solo, but kept it all in check.
Watkins flashed on the drums, and he was so very tight it was a feat to watch him.
Rollins at the conclusion of most songs was more about giving the "sidemen" their just due. He'd point to each after a solo, or politely remind the ravenous audience he couldn't do this all alone.
Sonny finally took a moment to talk to the audience. He introduced the band, thanked us for coming and said he was sorry our baseball team kept losing (they'd lose all 4 games over the weekend). He was moved by the ovation(s) that came from each song.
Finally the band waved and said goodnight. He'd see us "real soon" and I thought they'd come back out to do one more song. The ovation was thunderous and maintained enough for the band to come out and salute us with their instruments but that is all we got.
I was a little bummed out, but then I had to remember Sonny will be 80 on September 7th of this year and that I got winded walking up the one flight of steps to my seat.
Was it short, well of course, moments like this you want to last forever. The more I thought about it on the ride home, the more perfect I realized it was.
Legend is a term that is tossed around far too often, but in this case, I know with all my heart, I saw a true legend perform on this night.
**update** The Boston Herald did a review as well and had many of the songs listed. You can see the review here.