Sonny Rollins is an American Jazz tenor saxophone player who is considered to be among the most prominent and influential jazz saxophonists. In a long seven-decade career, he has made seventy-two recordings as both a soloist and an accompanist. His versatility and musical talent make him a favorite with audiences around the world.
Born in New York City, Sonny Rollins earned a scholarship to Juilliard, the prestigious classical music academy in New York City. He attended this prestigious institution for three years before attending New York University, where he studied music composition under the tutelage of jazz saxophone legend Louis Armstrong.
Rollins became a member of jazz legend John Coltrane's band and later played on recordings by other well-known jazz artists such as George Coleman, Joe Henderson, and Jimmy Cobb. He also released his own self-titled jazz album. His success came quickly, and Rollins began appearing in films including The Graduate and All About Eve.
The musical talent became apparent to the public when he performed at jazz festivals and jazz clubs throughout the country. In 1980, Rollins formed his own band, the "Soloist Unit." His band, The Modern Jazz Quartet, released their first album, The Jazz Trio. Rollins played all of the lead saxophone on that album.
In addition to The Jazz Trio, Rollins would go on to record the popular album With Or Without You, which was produced by Larry L. Tipton. In addition to recording With Or Without You, Rollins would also be a member of two other popular and influential jazz bands - the Big Bopper and the Skylark Brass Band. His career as a soloist began to take off in 1983 when he released his second album, The Rhythm of a Lifetime.
Following the release of The Rhythm of a Lifetime, Rollins released another album with Larry L. Tipton, titled The Jazz Odyssey. This record featured some of the greatest jazz music recordings of all time, including compositions by Louis Jordan and Wynton Kelly.
As his solo career continued to grow in scope, Rollins' work became increasingly innovative. On the solo album A Day in the Life, Rollins ventured into the realm of reggae, blues, pop, and gospel. Other records included the more traditional jazz, as well as blues-based and R&B.
In addition to his work with Larry L. Tipton and the jazz orchestra, Rollins recorded an album with the legendary jazz pianist, Robert Perez, entitled Rhythm of a Man. The album included recordings of both of Robert's compositions.
The album, titled Jazz Etudes was recorded with the same pianist Robert Perez. Robert's other albums included recordings of his composition The Sun and Roses, as well as the Piano Routine series. Some of his best-known compositions included the Piano Routine and the famous piano piece "Waltz for Mardi Gras."
The album Ralph Lee Perez: The Original Jazz Recording Master was the final recording project produced by Larry L. Tipton. This disc featured recordings from both Perez and Rollins.
In addition to recording jazz records with Larry L. Tipton, Rollins also worked with a number of other artists. He produced albums with pianist/composer Stanley Myers, as well as pianist/singer-songwriter/vocalist Arturo Toscanini, and musicians Ray Charles, Jimmy Smith, and Chick Corea.
In addition to his regular stints with Larry L. Tipton, Rollins has also produced recordings by John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Jimmy Page. In addition to the recordings by him with Larry L., Rollins has also recorded music with saxophone legend Stan Getz. Rollins has also recorded with singers such as Paul Anka and Louis Jordan.
Sonny Rollins has been an important player in the history of jazz and is a true pioneer in the world of jazz. His wide-ranging recordings are still very popular today. As the musical world continues to evolve, many will continue to see Sonny Rollins as an inspiration.