Interview with Betty Carter

betty carterWhen I first started at WPFW, I naively tried to arrange an interview with one of my vocal heroes, Betty Carter. As a young man, I had more nerve than skills or common sense, not realizing I would have to pass her test before she’d agree to invest her time with someone so green. I went to Blues Alley two nights in a row before even approaching her. When I did, she asked me some questions, then sang a bit of melody in my ear and asked me if I knew the tune. I lucked out and told her it was the verse to “Stardust,” after which she agreed to give me 15 minutes following the next set.

 

You tour all over the world. What do you think of the way jazz is presented on radio in this country?

 Lousy! [laughs]. Not enough of it to expose the young kids to it, to make them aware of what’s been going on and what is going on. There’s really not enough music on the radio, jazz that is.

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Interview with Sonny Rollins, Pt. 6 (conclusion)

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Sonny Rollins, Molde

This interview with Sonny Rollins was commissioned as an NEA Jazz Masters oral history in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution’s Jazz Oral History Program, recorded on Feb. 28, 2011 at the Willard Hotel in Washington DC. Rollins, who was 80 years old at the time, seemed to enjoy the questions and the flow of the conversation, which stretched to nearly 3 hours, pausing only to change tapes. Pt. 1 of this interview is here, followed by Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4 and 5. Photo by Larry Appelbaum.

 

Appelbaum:  What do you think makes a good improvisation?

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Interview with Sonny Rollins, Pt. 5

IMG_7994This interview with Sonny Rollins was commissioned as an NEA Jazz Masters oral history in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution’s Jazz Oral History Program, recorded on Feb. 28, 2011 at the Willard Hotel in Washington DC. Rollins, who was 80 years old at the time, seemed to enjoy the questions and the flow of the conversation, which stretched to nearly 3 hours, pausing only to change tapes. Pt. 1 of this interview is here, followed by Pt. 2, Pt. 3 and Pt. 4.

 

Appelbaum:  You did an interview with Arthur Taylor–very interesting interview–that

was published in his book “Notes and Tones.”  And in the interview, you say, “I don’t have

the greatest opinion of myself.  I recognize a lot of my faults.”  And I guess, first, I need

to, I’m obligated to ask: What do you think those faults are?

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Interview with Sonny Rollins, Pt. 4

IMG_8050This interview with Sonny Rollins was commissioned as an NEA Jazz Masters oral history in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution’s Jazz Oral History Program, recorded on Feb. 28, 2011 at the Willard Hotel in Washington DC. Rollins, who was 80 years old at the time, seemed to enjoy the questions and the flow of the conversation, which stretched to nearly 3 hours, pausing only to change tapes. Pt. 1 of this interview is here, followed by Pt. 2 and Pt. 3

 

 

Appelbaum:  Let’s jump ahead a little bit to your first recording session.

Rollins:  Okay.

Appelbaum:  I assume it was with the vocalist…

Rollins:  Babs Gonzales.

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Interview with Sonny Rollins, Pt. 3

IMG_8065This interview with Sonny Rollins was commissioned as an NEA Jazz Masters oral history in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution’s Jazz Oral History Program, recorded on Feb. 28, 2011 at the Willard Hotel in Washington DC. Rollins, who was 80 years old at the time, seemed to enjoy the questions and the flow of the conversation, which stretched to nearly 3 hours, pausing only to change tapes. Pt 1 of this interview is here. Pt. 2 is here.

 

Appelbaum:  Let’s continue.  When you were at a certain crossroads, you were playing the

horn, you loved this music so much, you knew you’re going to dedicate your life to it, but

in terms of style, many people of your generation–horn players–went either

towards Coleman Hawkins or towards Lester Young.  And I wonder if you ever felt you

had to make a choice, and if so, how did you make that choice?

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Interview with Sonny Rollins, Pt. 2

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This interview with Sonny Rollins was commissioned as an NEA Jazz Masters oral history in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution’s Jazz Oral History Program, recorded on Feb. 28, 2011 at the Willard Hotel in Washington DC. Rollins, who was 80 years old at the time, seemed to enjoy the questions and the flow of the conversation, which stretched to nearly 3 hours, pausing only to change tapes. Part 1 of this interview is here: https://larryappelbaum.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/interview-with-sonny-rollins-pt-1/.

Pt. 2

Appelbaum:  I meant to ask…how did you acquire the nickname “Sonny?”

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