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Published: 2010/09/13

Jazz Greats Share the Stage at the Beacon

As reported in the blog, Saxophone colossus Sonny Rollins celebrated his 80th birthday on Friday night in New York City at the Beacon Theatre. The show saw Rollins perform with a variety of ensembles including a trio with fellow octogenarian Roy Haynes and bassist Christian McBride. For much of the night, the tenor sax icon performed with an ensemble that included Bob Cranshaw (bass), Russell Malone (guitar), Kobie Watkins (drums) and Sammy Figueroa (percussion). Guitarist Jim Hall (a “kid” at 79) stepped out for “In a Sentimental Mood” and “If Ever I Would Leave You.” Roy Hargrove added trumpet off and on throughout the evening, while all these players converged on stage for the encore, a version of Rollins’ best known composition, “St. Thomas.”

Still, for many in attendance the highlight came a bit earlier when Ornette Coleman, who also celebrated his 80th birthday this year, joined Rollins on stage for their first public performance together in recent memory. As Nate Chinen wrote in The New York Times, “Given that no one can seem to recall a public collaboration by Mr. Rollins and Mr. Coleman — mutual admirers and reciprocal influences — this was worth the wait.”

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