Rafi Zabor’s Updoc, Fri 3/28 & 4/1

Sonny Rollins’ Roadshows Vol. 3 is coming out in the first week of May, but for some of us the anticipation is too much to bear, so this week’s Updoc—Friday at 8PM, noon next Tuesday, East Broadway Rundown time—is another Sonny Rollins love-fest. But wait: I didn’t go to the record collection but trawled through concert videos and bootlegs for terrific lesser-known material, and found it. Most of the concerts are from the ‘80s, with bands of varying quality but Sonny radiantly melodious, and there’s a 22-minute St. Thomas from the quartet with Ornettists Don Cherry and Billy Higgins, an outtake from the 1962 live date that yielded Our Man in Jazz: Sonny more staggeringly formidable, less grandly joyful than he would be twenty years on, but you’ll feel plenty of glow nonetheless. Since even Sonny Rollins needs a break from Sonny Rollins now and then, Updoc takes one with the Mt. Everest of piano sonatas, Beethoven’s Hammerklavier, the power tool he used to break through to his late-period music. It’s played for us by the phenomenal youngster Igor Levit, who has the whole gigantic thing working in all its parts. Then back to Rollins playing The Tennessee Waltz, engulfing the melody in his bear-hug, undaunted by obvious sentiment and arcane technicalities alike: he’s as broad as a mountain range, as fine as sunlight, and an apparently endless source of deep-delved joy.SonnyPic

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