I just came home from leaving a Sonny Rollins concert during the intermission. Shame on me.
As Mr Rollins won the Polar Music Price this year, they also arranged a concert, in the Royal Concert Hall, and yours truly actually won a ticket for it when I was at Jazz Club Fasching the other week.
So why leave? Well, color me ignorant (which would be true) but I had expected something more… expressive. It is ever so slightly embarrassing when the, by far, most expressive and intensive and interesting player in a set is a 77 year old jazz legend who has, I’m afraid to say, clearly passed his peak. The band behind Rollins was bland. Gray. Vanilla soft.
Sure, Clifton Anderson blew some evil phrases on the bone. And the old trombonist (9 years no less) in me was happy for a whole minute hearing some good jazz bone again. But after a minute it was plain that he would play a soft kind of mezzo piano and nothing else. Expressive? No. Interesting? No.
The rest of the band was like watching a big vat of milk very slowly turning bad. Uninspired and boring.
So when the last tune before the intermission was “Park Palace Parade” from their latest recording, sounding like a strange kind of “Sonny Rollins discovers happy-happy latin jazz” (think Ove Törnquist with saxophone), I decided to drop off.
Hats off to Sonny Rollins for showing the band who’s boss though.