Jazz great Sonny Rollins -- 9/11 survivor :: eJazzNews.com : The Number One Jazz News Resource On The Net :: Jazz News Daily Jazz great Sonny Rollins -- 9/11 survivor
Posted by: editoron Monday, July 25, 2005 - 10:17 AM
Jazz News JUAN-LES-PINS, France (AFP) - American jazz legend Sonny Rollins survived 9/11 but cannot forget it, the septuagenarian told a press conference ahead of his sole European concert this summer.
"I was in my rehearsal studio six blocks away from the World Trade Center when the explosions occurred," said Rollins, who turns 75 in September and dedicated his latest album to the day in 2001 that changed the world.
"The whole area was evacuated. I left my studio with my horn under my arm," he said, adding he could now "reckon the horror of war. I can imagine being in a war seeing people who ... kill other people."
Rollins, whose age has brought a limp and trouble walking, had to rush down 40 flights of stairs in his apartment building on Chambers Street, six blocks north of the World Trade Center, sources in his entourage here said.
The result was what Rollins called "a very personal record", music he was working on when the terror attacks hit then recorded live that same week, in the heat of emotion, to try to forget. He has since gotten rid of the lower Manhattan flat.
"My wife convinced me to do the concert in Boston, four days after the explosions," Rollins said, referring to his long-time spouse and agent Lucille who died in November last year.
The sources here said Rollins had planned to do a studio album with another name, but used the live Boston gig instead, in memory of Lucille, calling it "Without a Song (the 9/11 Concert)".
A jazz great for six decades, Rollins' white hair and beard now give a patriarchal look to the man known for his powerful on-stage improvisations that won him the 2004 Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement.
His performance Friday night at the 45th edition of one of the French Riviera's biggest summer jazz festivals, "Jazz at Juan" at Antibes and Juan-les-Pins is his only stop in Europe this summer.
A regular in years past, he said this trip had not been easy.
"It's the first time I come back here since I lost my wife Lucille.
"I try not to think about it. We have to live and keep surviving as best as we can," he said.
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