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Sonny Rollins: Hardy Perennial

By Published: November 28, 2006

His Wife Lucille

AAJ: To change the topic, you evidently had a very good marriage, but your wife passed away recently. What would you like people to know about her?

SR: Well, we were together over forty years. I was lucky because Lucille helped me to do what I have to do which was play my horn. She took care of all the business, all the concerts, managing, taxes, shopping. So all I had to do was go into my studio and practice and read, and so I had an idyllic life.

Sonny RollinsAAJ: The two of you must have been very much in love.

SR: Yes, we were in love, to be together that long. Not only that, we were both content to be away from people. We were very content to be up here, which is about 135 miles north of New York City. It's a small town. It suited us fine. We did what we wanted to do. We had a perfect life. So, that's it.

AAJ: Sounds like you were a perfect match.

SR: Yes, I'm a Virgo and she was a Cancer, which are good astrological signs. Now, I'm adjusting to the loss, and I have to do all the business parts, which I hate to do.

AAJ: But your assistant, Terri Hinte seems so helpful—she did a great job setting up the interview.

SR: Terri is the publicist of our record company for many years, and a good friend. She's excellent. She was with Fantasy Records, but Concorde Records took over Fantasy and Milestone.

AAJ: Doxy is the label you record for.

SR: I own the label.

AAJ: You're the boss?

SR: I'm the boss! [laughter.] But I'm a good boss!

AAJ: We should wrap up this interview. You must have a lot to do...

SR: Just practice. After we're done, I'm gonna go down and practice for a while. class="f-right s-img"> Return to Index...

A Note to Aspiring Musicians

AAJ: Well, to conclude, what advice or guidance do you have for aspiring young jazz musicians?

SR: Oh, boy, that's a big question. What you have to confront if you're a young gifted musician is what some people call the "real world. But your music, which is the real real world, that comes first. The world of making a living, putting bread on the table, you meet a girl and get married, support a family. But music takes a lot of time and dedication. You run up against the so-called "real world, so that's a big wall between your aspirations and what you are actually able to accomplish. If you love music and think you have some aptitude, then I would just say, "Do it to the greatest level you can, feel privileged that you have that gift, and as for the rest, who can say?

Being a musician and raising a family are often two antithetical things. But as far as the music, if you have the aptitude, the talent, and you love it, consider yourself blessed that you have that understanding and love of music in this life. That in itself is a great blessing. But as far as earning a living, there's not much one can say. We live in a world that's all about making money and having things—big cars, big homes—and you're running into a conflict. But if you love music, there's nothing like it. If you're gifted and you can play it, I wish you well, and just continue doing it. But don't expect anything, because in the world in which we live, people who are artists, painters, musicians, writers, we can't expect anything in this world. The way the world is set up, it's not for us. But it's not a negative thing. It's still a wonderful thing anyway. class="f-right s-img"> Return to Index...

Selected Discography

[NOTE: Sonny Rollins has recorded a massive number of albums as a leader in the studio and in live performances, not to mention as a sideman, and many have been re-released on CD's and boxed sets. One of many full online discographies can be found here.]

Sonny Rollins, Sonny, Please (Doxy, 2006)
Sonny Rollins, Without a Song: The 9/11 Concert (Milestone, 2005)
Sonny Rollins, Mambo Bounce (Epm Musique, 2002)
Sonny Rollins, Sonny Rollins: Saxophone Colossus (Hal Leonard, 2000) (DVD)
Sonny Rollins, Jazz Casual: Sonny Rollins (Rhino, 1999) (DVD)
Sonny Rollins, A Night at the Village Vanguard (Blue Note, 1999)
Sonny Rollins, Meets Hawk (Classic, 1998)
Sonny Rollins, Global Warming (Milestone, 1998)
Sonny Rollins, Denmark, Vol. 1 (Moon, 1995)
Sonny Rollins, Denmark, Vol. 2 (Moon, 1995)
Sonny Rollins, St. Thomas, 1959 (Dragon, 1993)
Sonny Rollins, Way Out West (Contemporary/OJC, 1991)
Sonny Rollins, Here's to the People (Milestone, 1991)
Sonny Rollins, The Quartets (RCA, 1986)
Sonny Rollins, Sonny Rollins Live at Loren (Rhapsody, 1986) (DVD)
Sonny Rollins, The Solo Album (Milestone, 1985)
Sonny Rollins, The Cutting Edge (Milestone/OJC, 1974)
. Sonny Rollins, In Japan (JVC, 1973)
Sonny Rollins, Sonny Meets Hawk! (RCA, 1963)
Sonny Rollins, Alfie (Impulse!, 1963)
Sonny Rollins, The Bridge (Bluebird/RCA, 1962)
Sonny Rollins, The Quartets Featuring Jim Hall (Bluebird, 1962)
Sonny Rollins, Freedom Suite (Riverside/OJC, 1958)
Sonny Rollins, Sonny Rollins, Vol. 2 (Blue Note, 1957)
Sonny Rollins, Tenor Titan (Verve, 1957)
Sonny Rollins, European Concerts (Bandstand, 1957)
Sonny Rollins, Saxophone Colossus (Prestige/OJC, 1956)
Sonny Rollins, Tenor Madness (Prestige/OJC, 1956)
Sonny Rollins, Sonny Rollins, Vol. 1 (Blue Note, 1956)
Sonny Rollins, Sonny Rollins Quintet (Prestige, 1954)
Sonny Rollins, Sonny Rollins Quartet (Prestige, 1951)
Sonny Rollins, Sonny Rollins with the Modern Jazz Quartet (Prestige/OJC, 1951)
Sonny Rollins, Mambo Jazz (Prestige, 1951)

Related Articles
Sonny Rollins and David S. Ware: Sonny Meets David (Interview, 2005)
Dial S For Sonny (Podcast, 2005)
Sonny Rollins is My Rabbi (Article, 2005)
Tanglewood 2005 (Concert Review, 2005)
Jazz Cleric (Artist Profile, 2004)

Photo Credits
Black & White Photo: Jose Manuel Horna
All Others: Juan-Carlos Hernández

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