I cannot claim to be any sort of an expert when it comes to Jazz music. I like the sound of it, can recognize some instruments, and can name a couple of legendary musicians, like Duke Ellington. However, after reading Sonny’s Bridge: Jazz Legend Sonny Rollins Finds His Groove by Barry Wittenstein, I can add another musician to the list.
This picture book is a biography about Sonny Rollins, a jazz musician from New York City. He came to prominence in the 1950s, in Harlem clubs, but then decided that the fame was too big and took a break from the scene. Even though he wasn’t playing in the clubs anymore, he was still playing…but standing on (not under, but ON) the Williamsburg Bridge! After two years of playing on the bridge, Sonny went back into the studio and recorded an album titled, The Bridge.
There’s a lot to like about this book. As I’ve said before, I enjoy any book that I learn something new from and I definitely gained knowledge from this biography. I also liked the fact that Wittenstein has gone all in with the jazz theme. The text is written in a prose format that, if read correctly, has a jazzy feel to it. The parts of Rollins’ life have been divided into “sets”, just like we are at a jazz concert. And the illustrations…they are absolutely beautifully done by Keith Mallett and add so much to the ambiance of Rollins’ story and the setting.
This book is a great read, whether you are introducing your child to jazz, want to expose them to a small dose of history, or if you yourself are a jazz aficionado or a jazz novice like myself.
*I was given a copy of this book partly in exchange for a review. The release date for Sonny’s Bridge: Jazz Legend Sonny Rollins Finds His Groove is May 21, 2019.