Marc Myers, the resourceful and indefatigable king of the verbatim interview, posts a JazzWax conversation with Sonny Rollins about one of Rollins’s most unusual and successful albums. An excerpt:
JW: How did you pick the songs?
SR: All the songs I knew. By going to the movies so much as a child in the 30s, I was tuned in to Western popular music themes. Even today, people credit me for having an encyclopedic knowledge of what’s called the American Songbook. Included in there are Western songs, and Country music, too. When I was offered the date by Les (Koenig), I said, “Let’s make a concept album about the West,” which would evoke my feelings and the whole Western thing.
Rollins talks about how the famous William Claxton cover photo in the desert came about, and whose idea it was. To get the whole story, go here.