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Sonny Rollins @80 Concert at the Beacon Theatre Sept. 10 to Feature Special Guests Jim Hall, Roy Hargrove, Christian McBride
(Published: July 21, 2010)

Guitarist Jim Hall, trumpeter Roy Hargrove, and bassist Christian McBride have been tapped by tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins to join him onstage at the Beacon Theatre on Friday, September 10, to help celebrate the jazz legend's 80th birthday.

Christian McBride first worked with Rollins in September 2007, on the recommendation of drummer Roy Haynes, at the Carnegie Hall concert marking the 50th anniversary of the saxophonist's Carnegie debut. Rollins performed in a trio with McBride and Haynes that night in a nod to his 1957 performance with Wendell Marshall and Kenny Dennis. "The great young bassist is an extraordinarily gifted musician who deserves to play with Sonny Rollins again," Sonny says with a smile. "He is doing all music--and jazz in particular--proud. All hail."

Roy Hargrove was 21 when Rollins invited him to be a guest at his 1991 Carnegie Hall concert. "[Sonny is] history in person, the whole history of the music," Hargrove told the New York Times prior to that show. Several months later, Hargrove recorded with the saxophonist on his CD Here's to the People, which included "Young Roy," composed by Rollins for the trumpeter. "There is a hallowed legacy that passes down from Louis Armstrong and such," says Sonny. "It must be earned, but has to be bestowed from above, as it were. Roy Hargrove is that chosen one."

Jim Hall was part of Rollins's storied 1961-1962 quartet and his classic RCA recordings, including The Bridge. Hall and Rollins reunited at the saxophonist's abovementioned Carnegie Hall concert in 1991, and again at an impromptu performance last month in Burlington, Vermont, when Hall sat in with Rollins's group for two numbers. "The honorable and venerable Jim Hall will be at the Beacon with me," says Sonny, "commemorating our successful collaborations of years past. Jim is the class of his instrument. His playing never fails to inspire me."

Additional surprise guests are expected to appear at the Beacon concert, Rollins says.

For a 25-year period beginning in the 1970s, Rollins's special-guest concerts--usually held at Carnegie Hall (but occasionally at Town Hall or the Beacon Theatre instead)--were perennial highlights of the jazz calendar. Among the musicians to appear as Sonny's guests were old friends and young lions: Terence Blanchard, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Branford Marsalis, Tony Williams, Jim Hall, Grover Washington Jr., Roy Hargrove, Wynton Marsalis. In November 1995, at the Beacon, Sonny hosted Percy Heath, Walter Bishop Jr., Jackie McLean, Gil Coggins, and Wallace Roney.

"Sonny Rollins @80" will be Rollins's only U.S. appearance for the remainder of 2010. (Tours of Japan and Europe are booked for the fall and winter.)

Ticket prices are $120, $85, $65, $40, and $35, online at www.beacontheatre.com; or at the Beacon Theatre box office at 2124 Broadway between West 74th and 75th Streets (Mon-Sat. 11:00 am-7:00 pm). Tickets are also available through www.ticketmaster.com. For general information, call 212-465-6500. •

More Information: http://www.sonnyrollins.com

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