Sunday, December 18, 2011

Jazz You Can Believe In

Sonny Rollins was honored by President Obama and the Kennedy Art Center earlier this month, as an American whose "artistry has contributed significantly to the cultural life of our nation and the world.”  Indeed.

Rollins is the eighth jazz musician recognized with Kennedy Center Honors.  (The other seven:  Ella Fitzgerald (1979), Count Basie (1981), Benny Goodman (1982), Lena Horne (1984), Dizzy Gillespie (1990), Lionel Hampton (1992) and Dave Brubeck (2009).)

In a tribute to Rollins, posted in September on his 81st birthday, I quoted one critic who aptly said, Rollins is "the single most enduring tenor saxophonist of the bebop and hard bop era, but also the greatest contemporary jazz saxophonist of them all."  Click here to enjoy an epic performance of St. Thomas from 1968, and here, for a discussion of one of his many great albums, Way Out West.


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