Sonny Rollins - Brave New World

Sonny Rollins is full of surprises. Now well into his seventies, he has broken out on his own by setting up his own record label and arranging a distribution deal. As the first record, Sonny, Please, on his new label Doxy is released, Keith Shadwick finds out from Sonny the motivation he has for starting out on this new course and finds out that there could be some surprises to come on the label with a whole new archive of historic recordings now possible for release. Sonny Rollins - Brave New World
Few would be tempted to dispute Sonny Rollins’s pre-eminence in jazz today. His whole career has been played out against a background of critical and public admiration and, while he is now in his late 70s, every concert he plays is sold out and few go home from a Sonny Rollins gig disappointed.

Unfortunately the story is not the same as far as his records go. While there have certainly been some great highlights over the past few decades, one would have to stretch back to 1961’s The Bridge or (at a pinch) 1965’s Alfie to find a record that is universally accepted as one of his greatest. That’s a long time ago, and while there are releases that attract special pleading from various quarters to be included amongst his greatest recorded efforts (1982’s Sunny Days, Starry Nights is my candidate and an album I still get a huge kick out of), any realist is going to concede that they will not attract universal support for their advocacy. Given this, Sonny’s move into running Doxy, his own record company, is one that could be called intriguing.

Against the backdrop of the recent death of his wife and career partner Lucille and the takeover of the Fantasy/Concord group by Universal, to say that such a departure is unexpected is to undershoot by a considerable margin. Talking to him on the phone at his upstate New York farm, I asked him about the reasoning behind the decision to go for such a project at this time. There was also the question of why he’d issued Doxy’s first release, Sonny, Please as an album which had no distribution to traditional outlets such as retail shops. It turned out to be the old question of an artist more closely controlling the fruits of his labours. It was also, quite remarkably, an example of an artist looking to contemporary technology for his commercial future.

“I’d like Doxy to eventually be able to exist successfully from the website, selling mail-order. I think, for a small company like us, this is the future. Right now we need retail distribution as well and I’m glad that’s been finalised through Universal. But we sell plenty of our record at gigs, too. It’s a traditional way of doing thing, but it’s an important outlet for us.”

To read the rest of this article subscribe here

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Featured Artists

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Prev Next
Q&A with Trio HLK

Q&A with Trio HLK

Trio HLK are one of the most distinctive voices to appear on the Scottish jazz scene in recent times. Their debut album, Standard Time was released in May, since when...

Read More.....
Kamasi Washington: the return of the West Coast warrior

Kamasi Washington: the return of the Wes…

Following his critically acclaimed triple-album, 2015’s The Epic, LA saxophonist has circumnavigated the globe with a seemingly endless series of concerts that have cemented his reputation as the go-to spiritual...

Read More.....
John Coltrane: the lost album

John Coltrane: the lost album

The unexpected news of the existence of an unreleased John Coltrane studio session, now issued as Both Directions at Once – The Lost Album, is sure to get the jazz...

Read More.....
Jazz in Mexico today: a beginner's guide

Jazz in Mexico today: a beginner's guide

Patrick McMahon offers a guide to the thriving jazz scene in Mexico, including a list of artists to listen out for. You can enjoy most of these tracks in our...

Read More.....
Jazz drumming and the vision of Jonathan Barber

Jazz drumming and the vision of Jonathan…

Kay Shackelford introduces a bold new force on the jazz drumming scene: Jonathan Barber When listening to Jonathan Barber, there’s an earful of innovative and thoughtful rhythmic execution that causes pause...

Read More.....
All aboard the Blue Note at Sea jazz cruise

All aboard the Blue Note at Sea jazz cru…

Jon Newey experiences the unique musical possibilities of the Blue Note at Sea jazz cruise It’s early Monday morning on 29 January and the day has dawned surprisingly clear. Overnight the grey...

Read More.....
Classic interview with Hugh Masekela: “Hey, instead of rhythm and blues, how about ghetto and Bach?”

Classic interview with Hugh Masekela: “H…

In 2010, Hugh Masekela, the great South African musician and an inspiration in the cultural and political struggle against apartheid, spoke candidly to Jazzwise's Marcus O'Dair about his continued to fight...

Read More.....
Frank Zappa's jazz legacy

Frank Zappa's jazz legacy

Frank Zappa left a huge legacy of pioneering music and outspoken opinions that has proved obliquely influential in shaping the style and attitudes of generations of rock and jazz musicians...

Read More.....
Across the tracks: Ella Fitzgerald's recording of Duke Ellington's ‘I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But The Blues’

Across the tracks: Ella Fitzgerald's rec…

Brian Priestley takes the opportunity to put Ella Fitzgerald’s soulful 1957 version of Ellington’s ‘I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But The Blues’ under the microscope It’s well known that Ella Fitzgerald had...

Read More.....


Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

Office late pm vibes: dulcet guitar arpeggios punctuating raindrops, spirit in Motian @ECMRecords @ProperJazz… https://t.co/N7J5HWDOcM
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
Archie Shepp’s Art Songs & Spirituals blows the blues away at Barbican https://t.co/VwHEFpEUbB https://t.co/mmoiGPFKG3
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA