Sonny Rollins Returns to Mellon Jazz Fridays at the Kimmel Center
I went backstage after the concert, though Rollins was not in sight, taking almost an hour to chill out and, I suspect, do some meditation. Meanwhile, the others in the group came out to greet old friends and representatives of Mellon Jazz Fridays, who earlier that evening had honored legendary Philadelphia drummer Butch Ballard with the 2006 Mellon Jazz Community Award, acknowledging both his remarkable track record across more than a half century as well as his contributions to jazz education in Philadelphia. Ballard, still going strong as a teacher and group leader at age 89, was very eager to meet Rollins who, in a most gentlemanly manner, could be heard asking for Butch to come back to his dressing room. The rest of us waited, patiently but with anticipation, for our turn to pay our respects to an authentic American master.
Victor L. Schermer