Sonny Rollins, a very well known American Jazz Tenor Saxophonist was born on 7th September, 1930 in New York City.
He’s known as Theodore Walter “Sonny” Rollins. He began playing Piano at age 11 with Thelonious Monk until he was 20.
Sonny took great benefit from growing up in New York City, amongst the cultural community amongst many famous musicians. He began piano lessons, but was not very good at it. He was however keen on Fat Waller who also lived in Harlem, “His music was such a mood lifter, he made sunlight shine every place just by listening to him.” He first saw a saxophone close up when a family friend showed him the saxophone he had under his bed and upon first seeing it, he was wide-eyed, saying, “It was so beautiful looking.” Rollins says, “I always did have this feeling I was destined to be a good musician.”
At age 20 he had already played with other greats, Miles Davis and Charlie Parker.
He has till now played on many of his own albums and has also been featured as side man with Miles Davis in his albums Dig, Blue & Bags Groove. He’s also played with Thelonious Monk in Brilliant Corners, with Max Roach in Max Roach + 4, with Bud Powell in “The Amazing Bud Powell” and with J. J. Johnson in J. J. Johnson’s Jazz Quintets.
In 2004 Sonny saw his highest high and his lowest low all in the same year. He won a Grammy Award for his lifetime achievement and yet it was the year his wife also died. As a top level Saxophonist a lot of people who learn the saxophone look up to him as their ideal.
Still going strong at 80, he has just recieved the 2010 National Medal of Arts, presented by Presented Barack Obama at the White House.
You can follow more on Sonny at www.sonnyrollins.com