National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Saturday included a report by Howard Mandel on Sonny Rollins, who recently founded his own record label, Doxy. In a sound bite, Rollins asked Mandel not to identify him as a corporate executive of a record company. “Don’t do that to me man,” he laughed as he pleaded with Mandel. “No, I don’t want to screw anybody.” Then he talked about the contradiction between corporate thinking and jazz thinking.
The corporate culture is anathema to jazz. We don’t like cookie cutter, everything exactly the same way. We’re about creation, thinking things out at the moment, like life is. Life changes every minute. A different sunset every night; that’s what jazz is about.
To hear Mandel’s profile of Sonny Rollins at seventy-six, click here.
Michael J. West says
I completely agree with Sonny’s assessment. Unfortunately, I also think that for that same reason, jazz is temperamentally unsuited to be American popular music. I think the swing era was something of a fluke – and even then, most of the most popular and successful swing bands were rather cookie-cutter and same-sunset-every-night.
I know it’s a tangent, it’s just something that Rollins’ quote triggered in my brain.