Sep 29, 2017
Does anybody really understand jazz? Hands down, hands down – it was a rhetorical question. For me, it’s alll about mood, rhythm, sway and surprise. Good jazz changes your emotions and takes you places full of surprise and invention. That, I imagine, is what attracted documentary filmmaker Robert Mugge to his latest project, Saxophone Colossus, which is a portrait of legendary jazz musician Sonny Rollins Mugge, after all, calls Rollins “the greatest jazz improviser.”
ROBERT MUGGE podcast excerpt: "It was his wife, Lucille, who -- at the same I was thinking I'd like to make a film about Sonny -- was also thinking, 'There needs to be a film about Sonny. There needs to be a way to show people that, in 1986, he was at the absolute peak of his powers.'"
Of course, that was in 1986 – more than 30 years have passed since Mugge started the film, which contains rare interviews with Rollins and his late wife, Lucille, full performances and even convenes a trio of jazz critics to discuss Rollins’ art. What took so long to get Colossus to the public? We’ll discuss that and more. By the way, you have probably seen Mugge’s work before. His documentary archive includes Hellhounds on My Trail: The Afterlife of Robert Johnson, True Believers: The Musical Family of Rounder Records, The Kingdom of Zydeco, The Return of Ruben Blades, Gospel According to Al Green and Cool Runnings: The Reggae Movie.