Sonny Rollins, byname Newk, unique name Theodore Walter Rollins, (conceived September 7, 1930, New York, New York, U.S.), American jazz performer, a tenor saxophonist who was among the best improvisers on the instrument to show up since the mid-1950s.
Rollins experienced childhood in an area where Thelonious Monk, Coleman Hawkins (his initial icon), and Bud Powell were playing. Subsequent to recording with the last in 1949, Rollins started recording with Miles Davis in 1951. During the following three years he made three out of his best-known tunes, “Oleo,” “Doxy,” and “Airegin,” and kept on working with Davis, Charlie Parker, and others. Following his withdrawal from music in 1954 to fix a heroin habit, Rollins reappeared with the Clifford Brown–Max Roach quintet in 1955, and the following four years demonstrated to be his generally fruitful.
Starting with a style drawn principally from Parker, Rollins turned into an ace of clever and provocative immediacy that was joined with a brilliant direction of the tenor sax. The reliable clear in his act of spontaneities emerges in jazz history. Rollins showed an enthusiasm for unaccompanied saxophone spontaneous creation and gross controls of tone shading some time before such strategies ended up normal in present day jazz. He was additionally one of the first to effectively ad lib when then again overlooking rhythm and swinging inside a solitary solo while his accompanists clung to a preset beat and harmony movement. In these regards he was especially persuasive with cutting edge saxophonists of the 1960s and ’70s.
Rollins was the beneficiary of various distinctions, including a few Grammy Awards. In 2010 he was granted the National Medal of Arts. The next year Rollins got a Kennedy Center Honor.