By GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO
The saxophonist Sonny Rollins, perhaps jazz’s most respected living improviser, is also one of its most relentless seekers. But that’s well known; what’s not as widely recognized is the diversity — and the depth — of his inquiry.
Yes, there’s his herculean practice regimen (upward of eight hours a day, even into middle age) and the yearslong sabbaticals he took from performing to hone his craft. But Mr. Rollins, 86, has also maintained a vigorous, syncretic spiritual practice, and he has written hundreds of pages of personal notes over the years — reflecting on music technique and the music business and expressing social laments. He even started writing an instructional saxophone book but dropped that project.
These are among the insights to be gleaned from Mr. Rollins’s personal archive, which the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, part of the New York Public Library, has acquired. The center will process the archive and eventually make it accessible to the public.