Tavis Smiley with the amazing octogenarians Sonny Rollins and Tony Bennett
Here's Sonny Rollins in conversation with Tavis Smiley. The 81-year-old saxophonist says he still practices at least two hours everyday because "there's no end to music, there's always something new to learn...another vista ahead." He says he was in his "reverie" when he first began playing the saxophone as an 8-year-old, and it's still that way today. He also talks about how he would channel Cifford Brown while soloing, wondering "Where do I go now, man?" This year Rollins was awarded the Presidential Medal of the Arts, and he'll receive the Kennedy Center Honor next month. One of only seven jazz musicians to be so honored by the Center, he says he'll be accepting for all the jazz players who "bled, died, suffered and still made this great music come about."
And here's Tony Bennett with Tavis. Hear the great singer talk about how he respects his audiences by "thinking in a vaudeville way, not a corporate way." Bennett says Louis Armstrong showed everyone "the right way" to play, and that he took Art Tatum as a personal model for the way the pianist could "make a story out of a song."