SONNY ROLLINS BRIDGE is a documentary video about saxophonist Sonny Rollins' musical sabbatical on New York's Williamsburg Bridge from 1959-61.
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The Sonny Rollins Bridge Project is campaigning to rename the bridge to commemorate Rollins' famous sabbatical. This documentary was filmed on June 13, 2017, on the Williamsburg Bridge, which connects Manhattan and Brooklyn.
All of the music was composed by Sonny Rollins and performed live by Eric Wyatt, Erik Lawrence, Gene Ghee, and Jovan Alexandre.
About the Co-Directors:
--Jessica Edwards has a broad background in the film industry as a director, producer and publicist. Her first feature-length documentary, Mavis!, about soul music legend Mavis Staples and her family group The Staple Singers, premiered on HBO in 2016 and was awarded a Peabody for distinguished achievement in documentary filmmaking. Her award-winning debut short Seltzer Works premiered at SxSW and was broadcast on the PBS series POV in 2010. Her documentaries have screened at film festivals around the world including Sundance, SxSW, Hot Docs, IDFA and dozens of others. Edwards is a Vice-President at the VR content studio Scenic, where she has collaborated with outlets like the Wall Street Journal on 360 video documentaries for Samsung Gear, Google Daydream and other VR platforms. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
--Negin Farsad was named one of the 53 Funniest Women by Huffington Post, one of the 10 Best Feminist Comedians by Paper Magazine, and was selected as a TEDFellow for her work in social justice comedy. She is the author of How to Make White People Laugh, a memoir-meets-social-justice-comedy manifesto (published by Grand Central/Hachette). Farsad is host of Fake the Nation, a political comedy round-table podcast on the Earwolf network. She is also the director/writer/star of the feature films 3rd Street Blackout starring Janeane Garofalo, Ed Weeks, and John Hodgman; The Muslims Are Coming! starring Jon Stewart, David Cross and Lewis Black; and Nerdcore Rising starring Weird Al Yankovic.
The film stars:
--Eric Wyatt is a saxophonist who has been recording and traveling the world as both a leader and sideman. He has played with and recorded on records with Jeff "Tain" Watts, Robert Glasper, Kenny Garrett, Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Donald Vega, Branford Marsalis, Bob Cranshaw, James Spaulding, Keyon Harrold, E. J. Strickland, Jeremy Pelt, Willie Jones III, Clifton Anderson, Warren Wolf, Monty Alexander, Benito Gonzalez, Larry Willis, Stephen Scott, Justin Robinson, and many others. Eric's father, Charles Wyatt, practiced on the Bridge with Sonny Rollins, who is also Eric's godfather.
--Erik Lawrence is a saxophonist and flutist, sound and vibrational healer, educator, journalist, and poet based in New York City. Erik's a charter member of the Levon Helm Band, Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra, Henry Butler/Steven Bernstein and the Hot 9, and founding member of Honey Ear Trio, Hipmotism, and Merge; Erik also performs or has toured and recorded with Glen Hansard, Vox Lumina, Tony Levin, Bernie Worrell, Chico Hamiliton, Sonny Sharrock, Buddy Miles, Spin Doctors, Morley, David Amram and countless others.
--Gene Ghee is a tenor saxophonist and old friend of Sonny Rollins. He's been playing professionally since the 1970s. He's recorded with Hamiet Bluiett, the Julius Hemphill Sextet, the Reggie Nicholson Concept, and many others.
--Jovan Alexandre is emerging as one of the most compelling young tenor saxophonists and composers on today's New York scene. He came out of the cauldron of Jackie McLean's Artists Collective and the Hartt School in Hartford, Connecticut. His debut album, Collective Consciousness, was released in 2014.
The Sonny Rollins Bridge Project would like to thank Matt Caltabiano, Jeffrey Marcus, Film First, and Vaguely Qualified Productions.