Musically Speaking – Sonny Rollins: Saxophone Collossus

Please join us for “Musically Speaking” – A weekly series of music-themed movies and documentaries, curated and hosted by DJ Soul Sister, with support from Charitable Film Network, Press Street, Whole Foods Market, and WWOZ.  For more information, contact

SONNY ROLLINS: Saxophone Collossus
Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award-winner Sonny Rollins has been called the greatest improviser in jazz. Celebrated filmmaker Robert Mugge (New Orleans Music in Exile, Gospel According to Al Green) captures the artist in performance and in repose, speaking candidly about his life, creative process, spirituality, and music. Filmed in New York City, Tokyo, and near his home in upstate New York, this acclaimed documentary features scenes from the Opus 40 Festival (“G-Man,” “Don’t Stop the Carnival”) and the world premiere of Rollins’ “Concerto for Tenor Saxophone and Orchestra” with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra. “Widely hailed upon its release as essential viewing,” JazzTimes magazine adds that this film is “not just for fans of jazz, but for anyone even remotely interested in the creative process.” (1986, 101 min.)

FREE Admission and Refreshments! SEATING IS LIMITED.

Tuesday, March 19
This documentary written and directed by Yvonne Smith follows one of the most unique and influential groups in music history, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Parliament-Funkadelic. From a 1960s barbershop doo wop group to ’70s masters of funk, through pitfalls and comebacks, to being the world’s most sampled band, P-Funk’s story is finally captured on screen with interviews, rare footage, and an in-depth look at the musical and entrepreneurial mastermind of its leader George Clinton. (2005, 60 min.)

After the film, there will be a Q&A with New Orleans residents and P-Funk team alumni Bob Bishop (sound engineer and touring crew member beginning in the early 1970s) and Phillipina Flowers-Bishop, who have both written songs that have appeared on Parliament-Funkadelic albums since the 1970s.

Tuesday, March 26 DOUBLE FEATURE:
In November 1971, Ginger Baker, the legendary drummer of Cream and Blind Faith, decided to set up a recording studio in Lagos, then the capital of Nigeria. Baker was one of the first rock musicians to realize the potential of African music, and decided that it would be a rewarding musical experience to travel to Nigeria over land across the Sahara desert – a journey that would lead him into a number of adventures, including a number of legendary jam sessions with his friend at that time, Fela Kuti, pioneer of Afrobeat music. This film by Tony Palmer follows Baker’s odyssey as he makes his journey and finally arrives in Nigeria to set up his studio, which would run successfully through the 1970s as a facility for both local and western musicians (Paul McCartney’s Wings recorded Band On The Run there). (1973, 53 min.)

FELA KUTI: Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense
Fela Kuti, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter, producer, political activist, and international superstar of African music, created Afrobeat music in the 1970s. Not simply a genre-blending mixture of African, Afro-Caribbean, and Black American music and nationalism, Afrobeat was, to Fela, a political weapon in his works of social justice and human rights activism. This documentary examines the life and music of the legendary artist. (1984, 55 min.)