Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Mr. Rollins, please forgive me. I planned to blog about your new album Road Shows Vol. 1 last week when Doxy Records sent it to me, and after I'd listened to the album twice. But I got sidetracked. I purchased a book titled Three Wish an Intimate Look at Jazz Greats written by Pannonica de Koeningswarter. Nica, as she was known among jazz musicians who she befriended, book is loaded with photos she snapped of your peers having a good time at her house. (Thelonious Monk named Nica's pad the Cathouse because, I'm sure you already know, she owned 144 cats).

Nica's book included a few black and white photos of you. On one you’re shaved, wore a black cowboy hat. She snapped a photo of you and Thelonius Monk. You guys looked youthful. Monk was seated at a piano, and you set on a sofa nestling your tenor sax. It looked as if you were conversing with it .

I often wondered about Nica's infatuation with jazz musicians. Her granddaughter, Nadine de Koenigswarter wrote the introduction to Three Wishes. She offered some basic biographical information, but nothing any jazz enthusiast couldn't track down on the Internet. From the introduction, I gathered Nica was a bit eccentric.

Mr Rollins, let me stop yapping about Three Wishes. The book just made me feel good, and the Road Shows Vol. 1 did too. The time I alloted to blog about your album I used to write Nica a letter, expressing how Three Wishes touched me.

Mr. Rollins I listened to Road Shows Vol. 1 at least five times so far. I never rely on my first impression. I play albums over and over. I dug the Road Shows Vol. more than Without a Song: The 9/11 Concert (2005). You used most of the personnel from that date trombonist Clifton Anderson (who produced the Road Shows Vol. 1), guitarist Bobby Broom, percussionist Kimati Dinizulu, and pianist Stephen Scott.

On More Than You Know, and Tenor Madness you were vigorous as if you had something to prove. On your last live album your band shouldered the workload, particularly pianist Stephen Scott. Scott fingers raced across the keys a la pianist Bud Powell. On the Road Shows Vol. 1, you handled the manual labor.

You navigated your way through Blossom like a museum curator, proving that you're still a champion improviser.
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