Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Dec 20th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The Sonny Side of Life

music_SonnyRollinsSonny Rollins resurrects the golden era of jazz at the 54th Monterey Jazz Festival

There are music fans that travel the globe like surfers looking for the perfect wave, and this year at the Monterey Jazz Festival there is depth, height and a wide selection of acts to please the most ardent jazz aficionado, or those just looking for a fun ride. Now in its 54th year and located on the Monterey Fairgrounds, this is one festival that provides entertainment for all levels of listeners: discussions of jazz in film with Clint Eastwood, a tribute to soul music with Huey Lewis and the News, a peek into the funkified world of Herbie Hancock, plus Terence Blanchard in a tribute to Miles Davis, to name a few.

A Grounds Pass will get you the Motown groove of Mitch Woods and his Rocket 88’s, the New Orleans sounds of Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, and The Soul Rebels Brass Band—or you can upgrade to an Arena Pass to catch the bigger names like Huey, Herbie and India.Arie. All will enjoy tasty food and artistry at vendor booths, but be warned, once you leave your patch of grass, navigating back through the crowds will be a challenge.

 

Expect waves of fans to head toward the stage when Sonny Rollins stops by Sunday night. The showman knows what it takes to please an audience—from his roots in the bebop world of Coleman Hawkins, to his work with Thelonius Monk, Miles Davis and The Modern Jazz Quartet, Rollins is one of the last of the “golden era of jazz.”

With enough accolades to fill several volumes of jazz history, the 81-year-old is warm and willing to indulge even the most basic of questions. Asked about the meaning of jazz, Rollins says, “Is it a singer in a café with a piano trio? No. Jazz is the spirit in music, the spirit of freedom. And that will always be here. What we call the classical period can be seen in a photograph by Art Kane—of course Davis and Coltrane are not there—they were working and everyone else was available. It was those guys that made a big impact. Jazz is such an unpredictable form, it’s a spirit. Jazz is freedom—it’s the unexpected, it’s not always doing the same thing.”

Rollins’ philosophy on life is as thoughtful and deep as his reflections on the genre that he helped create. “It’s never hopeless, and it’s never hopeful, it’s just always changing,” he says. “We don’t know why we are here and nobody knows where we came from on this planet—but one thing is that it’s not all good and it’s not all bad, so it must be that there is a philosophy that we have to take out of that.”

Amazingly, after all these years, Rollins still takes himself to task on every performance. His own harshest critic, he never allows a sense of ease or comfort. In fact, Rollins treats every performance as a struggle, or a conflict that seeks resolution—a fact that guarantees the audience will be swept away at this weekend’s performance.

“No, it’s never easy,” Rollins explains. “Sometimes the results are easy and turn out extraordinarily well. Sometimes you cannot determine how these things happen. We’re subject to the elements and all the things that make a good night happen—and who knows why, because we try our best. We never know, so it’s never a sure thing. At least not for me, because I’m always trying to improve myself and the musical experience—it’s never taken for granted, like ‘Oh, it’s gonna be a great gig in Monterey.’ It’s always a challenge to satisfy the people and satisfy myself.”

 


The Monterey Jazz Festival runs Friday, Sept. 16-Sunday, Sept. 18, at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, 2004 Fairground Road, Monterey. For tickets and details, visit montereyjazzfestival.org. Photo Credit: srabbott

 

Comments (1)Add Comment
...
written by Ina Hillebrandt, September 16, 2011
Miss living right next door! What a lineup. Tim does a great job running this show, and the musicians are out of this world. Even the food is fun. All who can get there are living in rarefied air. Great pic of Sonny, who is not only a huge talent, but a huge person.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Tramonti Pizza

Why there’s no such thing as too much Italian food in Seabright

 

Guitar or surfboard?

Guitar. The closest thing I ever came to surfing was sliding down a rock hill. Charlie Tweddle, Santa Cruz, Hats and Music

 

Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire