Sonny Rollins

A friend sent me a thoughtful interview with Sonny Rollins from The New Yorker.

You mention self-criticism in almost every interview. I’d like to ask what your relationship to self-criticism is today, but also to self-acceptance, self-praise, self-compassion. How do they relate?

“I focus much more on the negative side. I understand that people appreciate me, and I’m so happy about that, but, as for myself? No. I could have done more. If I had my druthers, I would have started playing earlier, done what my mother wanted me to do, which was play piano, instead of playing stickball on the streets of New York.”

I heard Sonny Rollins play at Jazzopen in Stuttgart in 2009. The space was like a high school gymnasium, with neat rows of folding chairs occupied by serious Germans. It was an odd juxtaposition, but I’m glad I got to see him while he was still going strong.