Sonny Rollins

Born Sep 7, 1930

Theodore Walter "Sonny" Rollins is an American jazz tenor saxophonist. Rollins is widely recognized as one of the most important and influential jazz musicians. A number of his compositions, including "St. Thomas", "Oleo", "Doxy", and "Airegin", have become jazz standards.… Read More

related links

News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Sonny Rollins.

  • Jazz Legend Sonny Rollins Revisits Past Performances With 'holding The Stage'
    NPR - Apr 28, 2016
  • S american cool mini
    The House Sinatra Lived In
    Huffington Post - Dec 12, 2015
  • S michael blake jazz mini
    Michael Blake's World Time Zone Premiers Contrasts In Individualism At The Kitano
    Huffington Post - Jan 21, 2014
  • S us uk ca mini
    Dog Ears Music: Born In January
    Huffington Post - Jan 10, 2014


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Sonny Rollins.


1930 Birth Born on September 7, 1930.


1946 15 Years Old Rollins started as a pianist, changed to alto saxophone, and finally switched to tenor in 1946. … Read More
1949 18 Years Old 1 More Event
Rollins was first recorded in 1949 with Babs Gonzales (J. J. Johnson was the arranger of the group).
1950 19 Years Old In 1950, Rollins had been arrested for armed robbery and given a sentence of one-to-three years. … Read More


1952 21 Years Old In 1952 he was arrested for violating the terms of his parole by using heroin.
In 1955, Rollins was assigned to the Federal Medical Center, Lexington, at the time the only assistance in the U.S. for drug addicts. … Read More
After the deaths of Brown and the band's pianist, Richie Powell, in a June, 1956 automoblie accident, Rollins continued to play with Roach, and released his own albums on Prestige Records, Blue Note, Riverside, and the Los Angeles label Contemporary.
1957 26 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1957, Rollins pioneered the use of bass and drums, without piano, as accompaniment for his saxophone solos. … Read More
1958 27 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1958 he appeared in Art Kane's A Great Day in Harlem photograph of jazz musicians in New York. … Read More
1959 28 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1959 he toured Europe for the first time.


In the summer of 1961, the journalist Ralph Berton happened to pass by Rollins on the bridge one day and published an article in Metronome magazine about it the occurrence.
1963 - 1965 2 More Events
1968 37 Years Old In 1968 he was the subject of a television documentary, directed by Dick Fontaine, entitled "Who is Sonny Rollins?"
1969 38 Years Old In 1969, Rollins took a sabbatical to study yoga, meditation, and Eastern philosophies in India.


1971 40 Years Old He returned from his second sabbatical with a performance in Kongsberg, Norway, in 1971.
1972 41 Years Old Reviewing a March, 1972, performance at New York's Village Vanguard night club, the New Yorker critic Whitney Balliett wrote that Rollins "had changed again. … Read More
1974 43 Years Old In 1974, Rollins added jazz bagpiper Rufus Harley to his band; the group was filmed performing live at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London. … Read More
1979 48 Years Old In 1979 he played unaccompanied on The Tonight Show and in 1985 he released The Solo Album, recorded live at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. … Read More


1981 50 Years Old In 1981, he was asked to play uncredited on three tracks by The Rolling Stones for their album Tattoo You, including the single, "Waiting on a Friend". … Read More


1997 66 Years Old In 1997, he was voted "Jazz Artist of the Year" in the Down Beat magazine critics' poll. … Read More
2001 70 Years Old 1 More Event
Rollins won a 2001 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album for This Is What I Do (2000).
2006 - 2010 3 More Events
2013 82 Years Old In May 2013, Rollins received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the Juilliard School in New York City. … Read More
2015 84 Years Old This became one of Rollins' best-selling records; in 2015 it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Original Authors of this text are noted on
Text is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.