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Sonny Rollins revisits his 1957 Carnegie Hall debut

September 18, 2007|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Sonny Rollins was surprised when a long-lost tape of his Carnegie Hall debut was discovered among the Voice of America's huge collection of recordings at the Library of Congress. But after listening to the tape, the tenor saxophonist got inspired to return to Carnegie to mark the 50th anniversary of that historic concert.

Tonight, Rollins will be performing the same three songs -- "Moritat," "Sonnymoon for Two" and "Some Enchanted Evening" -- that the then 27-year-old saxophonist played with bassist Wendell Marshall and drummer Kenny Dennis at his first Carnegie Hall concert, on Nov. 29, 1957.

"I thought it would be interesting to reprise the material," said the 77-year-old Rollins from his home in Germantown, N.Y. "Let's hope that the now sounds better than the then."

The concert tape had been lost until 2005 when Larry Appelbaum, a jazz specialist at the Library of Congress, discovered a set of tapes in the collection. They included a historic recording of Thelonious Monk's quartet with John Coltrane, which became one of 2005's most important jazz releases.

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