Now a National Treasure.

Now a National Treasure.
Now a National Treasure.

– Sonny Rollins Trio – live in Aix-en-Provence – March 11, 1959 – Radio France International –

Something special and historic this weekend. The legendary Sonny Rollins in one of his last appearances in 1959 before his self-imposed withdrawal from the scene for a period of introspection, regrouping and reappraisal. This one, a club date from Aix-en-Provence in France was fortunately recorded and later broadcast (and re-broadcast) by the venerable Radio France International on March 11, 1959.

Here’s who plays and what they play:
Sonny Rollins Trio – Live at Aix-en-Provence – March 11, 1959
01 Woody ‘n’ you
02 But not for me
03 Lady Bird

Sonny Rollins (sax)

Henry Grimes (b),

Kenny Clarke (dm)

Here’s a short passage from the Sonny Rollins bio on his website:
Rollins’s first examples of the unaccompanied solo playing that would become a specialty also appeared in this period; yet the perpetually dissatisfied saxophonist questioned the acclaim his music was attracting, and between 1959 and late ‘61 withdrew from public performance.

Sonny remembers that he took his leave of absence from the scene because “I was getting very famous at the time and I felt I needed to brush up on various aspects of my craft. I felt I was getting too much, too soon, so I said, wait a minute, I’m going to do it my way. I wasn’t going to let people push me out there, so I could fall down. I wanted to get myself together, on my own. I used to practice on the Bridge, the Williamsburg Bridge because I was living on the Lower East Side at the time.”

Despite the seemingly short set of 3 numbers, they play for almost an hour. So there’s a lot of exploring going on. And of course, the audience didn’t want them leave. Sonny finally having to tell the fans “Je suis Fatiguè”.

And listening some 64 years later, I didn’t want it to end either.

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