17 November 2007
This picture of Sonny says everything about him: funny, incredibly hip, and still going strong at seventy-eight. He's one of the few jazz musicians to regularly inject humour into his improvisations - which he does by executing unexpected key changes and making quotations from one tune whilst playing another. He also has a genius for extracting lyrical glories from the most unlikely material. Who else would think of playing Burton Lane's How Are Things in Glocca Morra or Noel Coward's Some Day I'll Find You. But he does, and like other great jazz artists, he takes them seriously, he knows the lyrics, and he plays them as if he means it. You can hear all this on what is still a standout albumn from his middle period - A Night at the Village Vanguard, or you can listen to him next week on BBC Radio 3 on Friday 23 November 2007 22:30-23:30.