Saxophone Forum

by birdlover
(43 posts)
9 years ago

Sonny Rollins Responds to Stupid New Yorker Article

The New Yorker published this piece of satire without (at first) identifying it as satire. It reminded me of when I was a music major in college where I was studying jazz and classical music. There was a lot of snobbery in the classical department directed at jazz. I recall once they showed a cartoon film with jazz musicians talking like beatniks which was so dumb I couldn’t believe they were showing this film. Apparently the classical department felt threatened by jazz. At any rate the ridiculous satire published by the New Yorker is in a similar vein. Below is the article, and below that is Sonny Rollins’ response to it.

The article:

“I started playing the saxophone when I was thirteen years old. There were some other kids on my block who had taken it up, and I thought that it might be fun. I later learned that these guys’ parents had forced them into it.

The saxophone sounds horrible. Like a scared pig. I never learned the names of most of the other instruments, but they all sound awful, too. Drums are O.K., because sometimes they’ll drown out the other stuff, but it’s all pretty bad.

Jazz might be the stupidest thing anyone ever came up with. The band starts a song, but then everything falls apart and the musicians just play whatever they want for as long they can stand it. People take turns noodling around, and once they run out of ideas and have to stop, the audience claps. I’m getting angry just thinking about it.

Sometimes we would run through the same song over and over again to see if anybody noticed. If someone did, I don’t care.

There was this one time, in 1953 or 1954, when a few guys and I had just finished our last set at Club Carousel, and we were about to pack it in when in walked Bud Powell and Charlie Parker. We must have jammed together for five more hours, right through sunrise. That was the worst day of my life.”

Read the rest:

Here is Sonny Rollins’ response to the article:

Do check out what Rollins said, it's a great and inspiring interview.


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