THE RESONANT KINDNESS OF SONNY ROLLINS (1994)

Some time back, browsing eBay, I came across this quite remarkable object for sale: a letter from Sonny Rollins to a younger fan / musician.  It’s no longer for sale (it sold for eight hundred dollars) but I share the text with you now.

Undated [November 23, 1994]. “Dear Mahlon – Playing music can be hard at times! No good gigs, no money etc. etc. But there is no joy like blowing your horn and if God has given you a gift hang in there with it as long as you can keep your self respect and dignity out here in this crazy world. I am behind you and am pulling for you and if you need to call on me please do so. Also you have a great friend in that beautiful young lady Shelby. Both of you keep on keepin’. We (our people, the planet) need individuals like you out here!! Yours sincerely, Sonny Rollins. P.S. Tour schedule on the way.” Together with the original envelope, addressed to the recipient’s friend Shelby Johnson, and postmarked November 23, 1994.

and more details:

still more:

and a final offering:

Kindness like this is a salve for the wounds we all have, and encouragement from a master is a priceless gift.  Perhaps you all could extend the same warm embrace to someone you know who needs it?  People need to know what love is.

May your happiness increase!

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4 responses to “THE RESONANT KINDNESS OF SONNY ROLLINS (1994)

  1. Don "Zoot" Conner

    Lovely. I must have played this side over a hundred times and I always find something new. Loved the letter. And it shows Sonny’s love for humanity despite a wacky world;which has gotten worse since he wrote some twenty years ago. Thanks for finding this gem, Michael.

  2. The letter Sonny wrote to, and in tribute to, Coleman Hawkins sometime in the early 60’s, and quite locatable on the internet, is also worth a read.

  3. Ah, I was not aware you had blogged this back then.
    In this case redundancy becomes a virtue! 😉

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