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Sonny Rollins Turns 77: Revamped Web Site Celebrates With Rare Music & Video

United States
English
September 7, 2007 — Sonny Rollins turns 77 today -- September 7, 2007 -- and on the eve of the saxophonist’s 50th Anniversary Concert at Carnegie Hall, his newly revamped web site debuts, celebrating an extraordinary life in jazz. Beginning today, and every day leading up to the Carnegie Hall concert on September 18, the site will be broadcasting rare performances, including a 1956 gig with the Max Roach/Clifford Brown All-Stars.

Specifically, two different tracks from an unreleased June 2, 1956 engagement at Cleveland’s Cotton Club by the Max Roach/Clifford Brown group, featuring a 25-year-old Sonny Rollins, will be broadcast on the site each day from now until September 18.

The birthday celebration also includes a 1968 video of Sonny playing in quartet with Kenny Drew, Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, and Albert “Tootie” Heath.

Since it premiered two years ago, on Sonny’s 75th birthday, SonnyRollins.com has attracted more than 750,000 visitors. The Sonny Rollins Podcast and additional video produced for Sonny by Bret Primack -- which appear on the site and YouTube and are available for download on iTunes -- have also found a sizable audience with over 300,000 views and downloads.

Primack has given the site an attractive facelift and added dynamic new content, including a multimedia biography; an enhanced shop that features all of Sonny’s recordings currently in print, as well as lead sheets, transcriptions, arrangements, and books; and an expanded forum area that provides Sonny’s global audience with a vehicle to interact and discuss the man and his music.

“With all this video and interactivity, and by linking the site with YouTube and iTunes, as well as selling his own downloads, Sonny Rollins is uniquely positioned as an artist totally in tune with today’s technology,” Primack explains. “Sonny’s utilization of this medium serves as the model for all musicians in the new millennium.”
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