Home' The Wellingtonian : June 9th 2011 Contents 22 THE WELLINGTONIAN, JUNE 9, 2011
JAZZ MAN STRONG
Saxophone legend: Sonny Rollins is making his first appearance in Wellington.
By GAVIN BERTRAM
There are few places Sonny Rol-
lins hasn't been during the six
decades he's been blowing his
But New Zealand is one of those
places, so the jazz legend is looking for-
ward to playing at the Wellington Jazz
Festival this weekend.
That's my job and I'm very grateful
I'm able to perform a service for people,''
Rollins said. That's what life is about,
and if people are appreciative of my
music, I'm very honoured to have a
chance to play for them.''
The 80-year old New York-born Rol-
lins had a premonition as a child he
would be a prominent musician, an
event that inspired him to keep playing
the instrument he loved.
After a brief spell in New York's
Rikers Island prison for robbery in
1950, he has led a colourful life in jazz.
He had already played sessions with
jazz icons JJ Johnson, Fats Navarro,
and Bud Powell, and after his prison
release Rollins recorded with Miles
Davis, Thelonious Monk, and Dizzy
He remembered the camaraderie
among the jazz musicians of that era,
when the bebop music they were
playing had not yet been embraced by
audiences en masse.
Rollins said there was an us against
the world'' attitude that had positive
and negative effects. It drew us closer
together, but it also drew us around
illegal drugs,'' he recalled.
There wasn't a lot of money avail-
able, so we devoted ourselves to the cre-
ation of a real art form, this music. That
was what it was about; it wasn't about
success or popularity or fame.''
Since recording as a leader for the
first time in 1953, Rollins has released
more than 50 albums under his own
name. Among these are recognised jazz
classics Tenor Madness and Saxophone
Colossus from the mid-1950s.
Such records, on well-known jazz
labels like Prestige, Blue Note, and
Verve, led to Rollins being lauded.
The saxophonist soon wearied of the
hype and felt a drive to better himself.
He spent months practising on New
York's Williamsburg Bridge, an event
which has gone down in jazz mythology,
and been referenced on The Simpsons.
I realised I had to improve myself
rather than believe what the critics
were saying,'' he said. Against the
advice of many people, I went on the
bridge and found a convenient place to
practise. I went up there to practise
every day and night. It was wonderful --
that was serendipity.''
That and other periods away from
music are an indication of Rollins'
intense devotion to jazz music.
In 2010 Rollins was awarded the
National Medal of Arts by United
States President Barack Obama, and
the Miles Davis Award at the Montreal
Sonny Rollins plays at the Michael
Fowler Centre, 8pm on Saturday. Contact
473 0149 or see jazzfestival.co.nz.
Show celebrates astronomer's work
By SOPHIA DUCKOR-JONES
The way it was: Peter Read fronts Night Sky.
The Carter Observatory is celebrating the
achievements of one of Wellington's
shining stars, astronomer Peter Read.
Observatory programmes manager
Claire Bretherton said Mr Read played an
instrumental role in relaying the 1960s
moon landing to New Zealand.
He described the moon landings and
introduced the space programme to New
Zealand, she said.
He was the voice of Apollo.''
Mr Read, who grew up in Welling-
ton, was instrumental in the con-
struction of the Golden Bay planet-
arium, which was eventually moved
from the waterfront to the Carter
He maintained a public face as the
presenter of television programme
Night Sky, during which he shared
his love of the night sky with New
Ms Bretherton said Mr Read
inspired and encouraged people to
learn about the night sky.
His gift was being able to explain
the night sky to everyday citizens in
a way they could understand.
He brought what was happening
in astronomy and space science
down to a level that people could
understand and they felt they could
be involved, be an astronomer,'' she
Mr Read died in 1981.
Among the items on display is the
telescope Mr Read used for so many
years, plus another, even older one.
There are also historical photo-
graphs, some of Mr Read's paintings
and material he brought back to New Zea-
land after visiting the United States.
The exhibition continues at the Carter
Observatory until July 31.
Admission is included as part of the nor-
mal entry to the observatory.
Wellington Capital Performing Arts
FROM MOZART TO PINAFORE
CPA Strings, Conductor: Michael Bain
Entrance of the Queen of Sheba - Handel;
Canon in D Major - Pachelbel; Eine Kleine Nachtmusik - WA
Mozart; and Prelude from Holberg Suite - Grieg
WgtnG&S Light Opera HMS Pinafore - Gilbert & Sullivan
Bluegrass and Irish fiddle - Colleen Trenwith
(ex Hamilton County Bluegrass Band)
TUESDAY 14th June 2011
DINNER 6PM and CONCERT 7.35PM
Tickets $37 -- Bookings: "The Pines" ph: 387-9853
The Pines, 50 The Esplanade, Houghton Bay
Sponsored by Wellington City Council & Tinakori Antiques
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