Sonny Rollins Plays the Bridge (Hardcover)
James Ransome's glorious art celebrates jazz icon Sonny Rollins and how he found an inspired spot to practice his saxophone when his neighbors complained.
Sonny Rollins loved his saxophone. As a teenager, he was already playing with jazz stars and making a name for himself. But in 1959, at age twenty-nine, he took a break from performing—to work on being a better, not just famous, musician. Practicing in a city apartment didn’t please the neighbors, so Sonny found a surprising alternative—the Williamsburg Bridge. There, with his head in the clouds and foghorns for company, Sonny could play to his heart’s content and perfect his craft. It was a bold choice, for a bold young man and musician.
Sonny’s passion for music comes alive in jazzy text and vivid, evocative paintings of New York City. His story celebrates striving to be your very best self, an inspiration to music lovers young and old.
About the Author
Gary Golio is a fine artist, musician, and psychotherapist. He is the author of Dark Was the Night: Blind Willie Johnson's Journey to the Stars and the New York Times bestseller JIMI: Sounds Like A Rainbow--A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix, as well as many other award-winning books. He lives in Briarcliff Manor, New York.
James Ransome is the illustrator of many award-winning picture books, including The Creation (by James Weldon Johnson), which won a Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration, and Let My People Go (by Patricia McKissack), winner of an NAACP Image Award. His other books include This Is the Rope (by Jacqueline Woodson), Young Pele (by Lesa Cline-Ransome), and Sky Boys (by Deborah Hopkinson). He lives in upstate New York with his wife, author Lesa Cline-Ransome, and their family.
* “Based on a true story, this charming picture book captures and shares the spirit and rhythm of Sonny’s playing. The free verse text makes nice use of figurative language (“The river is a shiny endless song,” “the sprawling spider city”) and Ransome’s gorgeous representational art, richly created with watercolor and collage, expands the story beautifully. Together, text and art are a happy exercise in harmony to delight readers’ ears and eyes. Following the story, readers will find back matter offering more details on Rollins' life, beliefs, and music, as well as the Williamsburg Bridge.”—Booklist, starred review
* “The harmony represented on the page...is also reflected in the harmony between the poetic text and the artistic images: Both show an African American man who finds peace on his own terms, in his own space, doing what he is meant to do...Ransome’s illustrations convey character, mood and setting to great effect, matching the spare, effective text with energy and vibrancy that tempt readers to seek out Rollins’ sound. This meditation on music, art, and integrity offers inspiration and food for thought. This loving tribute is a generous introduction to a figure worth knowing.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
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