Director: Dick Fontaine
It was one of the greatest thrills of my life to speak to Sonny Rollins – and then to see him perform. That was a couple of years back now, back around the time this film, Sonny Rollins: Beyond The Notes, was made. It’s based around Rollins’ 80th Birthday celebrations and combines concert footage with fresh and archival interviews. The film’s director, Dick Fontaine is drawn back to Rollins, a subject he first captured in the 1960s. Fontaine had in fact followed Rollins up onto Williamsburg Bridge in Manhattan during one of his legendary ‘escapes’ from jazz and the jazz life – that bridge such an important part of the Rollins story.
There’s a warmth to Sonny – I know that from talking to him, you possibly know that from listening to his music and you certainly get it from this documentary. New Zealand fans who saw his recent show will enjoy the flashback – as slowly, surely, a portrait of Rollins comes into place mostly through his playing and his philosophy around playing.