Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sonny Rollins on the Relevance of Jazz

Some thoughtful and inspiring words from the Saxophone Colossus himself, Sonny Rollins from an interview with Jason Crane at via Peter Hum at the Ottawa Citizen (nice find Peter!)

“I think that the relevance of jazz depends on what you think jazz is. For instance, if you think that jazz is a piano trio playing in a small nightclub — they’re good musicians, maybe have a girl singer — and you come in and there are people smoking and sitting at tables … if that is your conception of jazz then of course jazz is not relevant, because that refers to a time and place. Jazz is something which is much bigger. Jazz has to do with freedom of expression. So is jazz still relevant? Of course, because there are always people trying to express themselves in music. I think of jazz as having the big umbrella, so that a lot of styles of music that have merged over the years all fall under the umbrella of jazz. The act of trying to create something musically and spontaneously is something that is a part of life. It’s like the weather — it’s always there. Jazz as something that fits into a narrow little remembrance, no, that kind of jazz is not relevant. But jazz is as relevant today as the yearning for people to be free. That’s how relevant jazz is.”

- Sonny Rollins in conversation with Jason Crane

*Check out Crane's excellent website that features many, many interviews with the Masters.

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