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The multi-talented musician Sonny Rollins was born as Theodore Walter Rollins on September 7th 1930 in new York. The tenor sax player was to become famous in his career, (that has already spanned more than six decades), as one of the true masters of post-bop jazz.
Growing up into a musical family he began at the age of nine to study the piano, moving on to the alto sax and finally the tenor sax. Rollins began his musical career around 1946/47 playing in clubs along the 52nd Street, then in 1948 spent several months rehearsing with Thelonius Monk. Making his recording debut on January 20, 1949, Rollins played as a sideman for bebop vocalist Babs Gonzales, and then five months later with the trombonist JJ. Johnson. The same year, he performed at the legendary Blue Note Club in New York as a member of Bud Powell's band, which also featured trumpet player Fats Navarro, bassist Tommy Potter and Roy Haynes on the drums.
After making some recordings with Miles Davies in 1951, Rollins began to have problems with a severe drug addiction and it took him nearly two years to get back to his full creative strength, although he ultimately didn't overcome the addiction until 1955. Rollins made some of his greatest early impressions as a sideman, playing with many influential jazz musicians including, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Bud Powell, Dizzy Gillespie, Fats Navarro, Kenny Dorham, Clifford Brown, Art Blakey, Max Roach, Coleman Hawkins, John Coltraine, and Elvin Jones.
After recording with Charlie Parker, Miles Davies, The Modern Jazz Quartet, and Thelonius Monk in 1953-54 he moved to Chicago, and after turning down an offer to join Davis's quartet (Coltraine took the job) joined the quartet of Clifford Brown and Max Roach where he stayed until 1957. Some recording highlights of the next years were, "Tenor Madness" with Coltraine in 1956, "Saxophone Colossos "56, "Way Out West" with Ray Brown and Shelly Manne in March" 57, "Misterious -Reflections" with Thelonius Monk and JJ. Johnson - April 1957, and in February 1958 the "Freedom Suite" accompanied by Oscar Pettiford and Max Roach, not to forget, "A Night At the Village Vanguard" volumes 1 + 2 recorded in November 57 in Greenwich Village.
After withdrawing from the music scene between 1959 and 1961, Rollins made a comeback with the album "The Bridge" and the following year he recorded the legendary album, "Sonny Meets Hawk"
With Coleman Hawkins on sax and Don Cherry on trumpet. Rollins reached a high in his career in 1965 when he composed and recorded the soundtrack for the hit film "Alfie" in London. In the following years until 1971, Rollins began to take time off to pursue his interests in Eastern philosophy, spending the time studying yoga, meditation and the Zen Religion in Japan.
After making his comeback at the Kongsberg Festival in Norway in 1971, Rollins toured and recorded in many parts of the world during the following years, starting with "Next Album" (his first on the soprano sax) in 1972. He toured the U.S. in 1978 with the Milestone Jazzsters featuring McCoy Tyner, Ron Carter, and Al Foster and formed and split up numerous groups during the 70's and 80's. ln 1996, fifty years after making his musical debut on 52nd Street, Rollins recorded the album "Plus 3" and in 1998 "Global Warning" proving that he has the right to have a prominent place in the list of the greatest tenor saxophonist of all times.