Before & After: Igor Butman

Listening With Russia’s Jazz Ambassador

 

Tenor saxophonist, bandleader and entrepreneur Igor Butman occupies a unique place in Russian jazz circles for his considerable musical skills, media visibility and savvy political connections. The St. Petersburg-born Berklee graduate is not only recognized as the most famous Russian jazz musician in the world today, he also runs a successful record label, operates two jazz clubs and provides artistic direction for a jazz festival.

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Interview with Sonny Rollins, Pt. 6 (conclusion)

IMG_7996

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

IMG_7997

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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Interview with Sonny Rollins Pt. 1

with Sonny RollinsThis 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:

Appelbaum:  Let me begin by just asking some basics to establish some context.

Tell us first of all the date you were born and your full name at birth.

Rollins:  Oh, I was afraid you were going to ask me that.  Ok, my full name at birth was

Walter Theodore Rollins, and I was born September 7, Sunday morning, 1930 in Harlem,

America on 137th Street between Lenox and 7th Avenues.  There was a midwife

that delivered me, and that was my–how I entered into this thing we call life.

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