Sonny Rollins

Rollins, Sonny (Theodore Walter Rollins), 1930–, African-American tenor saxophonist and composer, b. New York City. A master of jazz improvisation, Rollins is known for his rich tone, emotional depth, and inventive use of melody, harmony, and rhythm. From 1949 to 1954 he was a sideman on recordings by such bop luminaries as Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, and Charlie Parker and also composed such now-classic tunes as "Doxy,""Oleo," and "Airegin." Rollins has since led numerous jazz groups and made some 100 recordings; among the most acclaimed are Saxophone Colossus (1956), Freedom Suite (1958), and the Alfie film score (1966). He also has toured extensively, often fusing bop with elements of rock, soul, and other musical styles in ensemble performances, and impressing audiences with his complex improvised solos.

See studies by C. Blancq (1983), E. Nisenson (2000), P. N. Wilson (2001), and R. Palmer (rev. ed. 2004).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on Sonny Rollins from Fact Monster:

  • Dexter Gordon - Biography of Dexter Gordon, Long, tall tenor sax jazz legend
  • Max Roach - Biography of Max Roach, Bebop drummer and bandleader with Clifford Brown
  • jazz: Recent Trends - Recent Trends By the mid-1950s a form of neo-bop, or hard-bop, had arisen on the East Coast. John ...
  • 2003 Grammy Awards - 2003 Grammy Awards The 46th Annual Grammy Awards were presented at Staples Center in Los Angeles on ...
  • 2001 Grammy Awards - 2001 Grammy Awards The 44th Annual Grammy Awards were presented at Los Angeles' Staples Center ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Music: Popular and Jazz: Biographies