Reservoir Media has acquired both the publishing and recorded rights of saxophonist and jazz icon Sonny Rollins.
The New York-based company’s latest deal comes a month after striking a catalog agreement with Rock and Roll and Grammy Hall of Fame inductee Dion Francis DiMucci, professionally known as Dion.
Over the past few months, Reservoir has acquired assets – for undisclosed sums – including the publishing portfolio of swing icon Louis Prima, plus Lebanese label and music publisher, Voice of Beirut (alongside PopArabia).
The firm has previously said that it was aiming to spend $100 million on “strategic M&A” in its full fiscal year 2023.
Reservoir Media generated revenues of $29.9 million in calendar Q4 2022 (its fiscal Q3 2023), up 16% compared to the $25.8 million generated by the company in calendar Q4 2021 (Reservoir’s fiscal Q3 2022).
Born in New York in 1930, Rollins is widely regarded as one of the most influential jazz musicians of all time and earned the monikers ‘The Saxophone Colossus’ and ‘The Greatest Living Improviser’.
He is both a prolific artist and songwriter, recording over 60 albums across seven decades, with numerous compositions of his becoming jazz standards, including St. Thomas, Oleo, Doxy, and more.
He also collaborated and recorded with notable jazz musicians from the last century, including Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, and Dizzy Gillespie, among many others.
Reservoir calls Rollins “one of the most decorated artists of all time”, having earned a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2004, a National Medal of Arts from U.S. President Barack Obama in 2010, and a Kennedy Center Honor in 2011.
His 1956 album, Saxophone Colossus, which features St. Thomas, was recognized by the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry, which represents a list of sound recordings deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
Reservoir notes in its announcement that for years, Rollins “famously practiced his saxophone for hours a day alongside the subway tracks on the Williamsburg Bridge, connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn”.
This period is said to have inspired his 1962 album, The Bridge, which became one of his best-selling records and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2015.
Rollins continued to record and release new music for decades, including his 2001 Grammy-winning album This Is What I Do and his 2006 Grammy-winning solo Why Was I Born?
Though he no longer is performing, Rollins still releases live recordings of past performances on his own Doxy label.
In addition to his career as a performer, Rollins has also been active as a philanthropist, establishing and maintaining the Oberlin Conservatory of Music Sonny Rollins Jazz Ensemble, “in recognition of the institution’s long legacy of access and social justice advocacy.”
“I’m happy that Reservoir will be helping to maintain my musical legacy, which was created in concert with so many great musicians I’m proud to be associated with.”
On the deal, Rollins said: “I’m happy that Reservoir will be helping to maintain my musical legacy, which was created in concert with so many great musicians I’m proud to be associated with.”
“Sonny Rollins looms large in music history.”
David Hoffman, Reservoir
Reservoir’s Vice President of A&R and Marketing, David Hoffman added: “Sonny Rollins looms large in music history.
“His towering achievements speak for themselves, and his profound influence on music and generations of musicians, including myself, cannot be overstated.” He added, “This is a really proud moment for Reservoir and for me personally, and we cannot wait to work with Sonny.”
“Reservoir is honored to sign this deal with the iconic Sonny Rollins and to be entrusted with his catalog that spans 70 years of brilliance and musical innovation.”
Rell Lafargue, Reservoir
Rell Lafargue, Reservoir President and Chief Operating Officer, said: “Reservoir is honored to sign this deal with the iconic Sonny Rollins and to be entrusted with his catalog that spans 70 years of brilliance and musical innovation.”
He added: “I first learned of Sonny through his music, playing St. Thomas as a young jazz student, and it’s incredibly meaningful that Reservoir and I can now commit to preserving Sonny’s musical legacy and amplifying his contributions to the artform for audiences old and new.”
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