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Sonny Rollins at the Jazz fest

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Phil Mastro, Jul 7, 2005.

  1. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    I saw Sonny Rollins last night at montreal the Jazz fest, and quite frankly, it was one of the worst shows I've ever seen. The sound was absolutely terrible (at least from where I was sitting) and the playing was pretty boring. And Bob Cranshaw's solo was quite possibly the worst bass solo I've ever heard. And it stretched on and on and on... like all soloes in the show. I'm not saying this to destroy Sonny or his band, I mean, the guy's a legend, but it was just so, so, man, disappointing.

    I know at least one other guy from Talkbass was there. I was wearing my 'Got Bass?' T-shirt when this dude comes up to me, introduces himself. It was Ben Rose. I know you're out there Ben, and I also know you left before the end, so please, tell these people how bad it was. Oh, and Ben, if I was acting spaced out a bit, I have a tendency to do that when I meet people I sorta heard their names before.
  2. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    That sucks, Sonny's one of my favs. Everyone is entitled to a bad show now and then I suppose.
  3. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun
    This is surprising. Sonny is one of my favorite musicians...period. He absolutely killed both times I saw him, but that was about 5--10 years ago. Charnette Moffet (sp?) was on bass and absolutely blew my mind.
  4. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    How much and what Sonny have you listened to, prior to this concert? Was this the first time you've seen him? Specifically, what records do you have? Who else have you heard, live, playing mainstream jazz?
  5. I read a review in the newspaper that said his show was good, but that the bass solo Cranshaw dragged on was the worst of the entire festival.

    What exactly did he do wrong?
  6. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Wow, if your bass solo was so horrid that a newspaper calls it out... you know you're in trouble!
  7. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002

    Maybe an off night? Not exactly an "advisable" thing when playing the MTL Jazz Fest...
  8. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    I've been listening to jazz for as long as I can remember, mainly because of my dad, who plays the saxophone. He has all the Sonny classics, Saxophone Colossus, Way out West, stuff like that. As for other "mainstream jazz" guys, I've seen the Dave Holland Quintet a couple of times (always amazing), Pat Metheny a few, Mike Brecker, Branford Marsalis, Chris Potter, Roy Hargrove (not with the RH Factor), Kenny Baron, John Scofield, Joshua Redman, Bill Frisell, Mike Stern, Bireli Lagrène, Enrico Rava, Gabriele Mirabassi, although I might be moving out of mainstream here...

    I've always liked Sonny Rollins, I always thought he was cool and funky, but I just didn't feel any swinging last night. And as for the bass solo, it was just slow and repetitive, and he was missing notes and stuff. Pretty sad to be honest...
  9. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    "The bass equivalent of a seasoned saxophone veteran who's never been a giant, but is well-respected for consistent excellence, Bob Cranshaw has worked steadily with several top jazz musicians."

    -excerpt from AllMusic.com profile for Bob Cranshaw

    Also, he was born in 32. The man's (plenty) aging, and never was a "giant" -- maybe his technique just isn't up to what it was before?
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I tend to think that small-group Jazz is not really suited to big Festivals - so for me, Jazz is best when the players are reacting to each other and responding to what they hear.

    Now if, as was mentioned in this case, the sound was bad and the players can't hear each other - then how can they react or be spontaneous...?

    I know I've played festivals with bigger bands and not heard a note of what's going on - OK if everything is arranged or written - but if you are relying on hearing your fellow players ...then it can all fall apart or get out of sync very easily...:meh:
  11. Ben Rose

    Ben Rose

    Jan 12, 2004
    Hi Phil,

    Nice meeting you. I was also dissapointed. I wouldn't pay to see that concert again. Sonny sounded great when he was playing unaccompanied, but the tenor got lost in the mix immediately.

    The bass sound had too much treble for my tastes. The "clacking" as each note was attacked was very distracting. Phil's comments about the bass solo are on the money. He did sound good (other than the clacking) when accompanying other soloists.

    A large part of the communication problems may have been the result of not playing together often. I got the feeling that this was one of the first times that group performed together as a unit, although I know that some of them have (ie Bob) been with Sonny for a long time. IMO, a prime example of this was the drummer pushing the trombonist into double time during the ballad, and then staying there even when it was clear (or seemed clear to me based on phrasing) that the soloist was trying to move back to standard time. Still, it seemed more of a group cohesiveness problem than a sound problem, but I wasn't onstage.

    On a positive note the guitarist was good and I enjoyed the percussion solo.
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well, I think that Jazz players rely on really hearing each other ...and if the sound was bad for the audience as people have said, then I think it's likely they were struggling to hear.....:meh:

    I've been to many Jazz gigs where the players haven't played together before, but it's been a great gig - but only at small venues where the volume is basically at acoustic levels.