Discover New Music

Last.fm is a music discovery service that gives you personalised recommendations based on the music you play.

Start your Last.fm profile Close window

Sonny Rollins

Tags

Everyone’s tags

More tags

Biography

Sonny Rollins (Theodore Walter Rollins, New York City, September 7, 1930) is an American jazz tenor saxophonist.
Rollins’ long, prolific career began at the age of 11, and he was playing with piano legend Thelonious Monk before reaching the age of 20. Rollins is still touring and recording today, having outlived most of his contemporaries such as John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Max Roach, and Art Blakey, all performers with whom he recorded.

While Rollins was born in New York City, his parents were born in the United States Virgin Islands. Rollins received his first saxophone at age 13.

Rollins started as a pianist, changed to alto saxophone, and finally switched to tenor in 1946. During his high-school years, he played in a band with other future jazz legends Jackie McLean and Kenny Drew. He was first recorded in 1949 with Babs Gonzales – in the same year he recorded with J. J. Johnson and Bud Powell. In his recordings through 1954, he played with performers such as Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk.

In 1950, Rollins was arrested for armed robbery and given a sentence of three years. He spent 10 months in Rikers Island jail before he was released on parole. In 1952 he was arrested for violating the terms of his parole by using heroin. Rollins was assigned to what was then the only assistance in the U.S. for drug addicts: “Narco”, “The Farm”, aka Federal Medical Center, Lexington. While there he was a volunteer for then-experimental Methadone therapy and was able to “kick” – endure an opiate withdrawal. Rollins himself initially feared sobriety would impair his musicianship, but then went on to greater success.

Videos

Top Albums

Listening Trend

371,649listeners all time
3,176,181scrobbles all time
Recent listeners trend:

Start scrobbling and track your listening history

Last.fm users scrobble the music they play in iTunes, Spotify, Rdio and over 200 other music players.

Create a Last.fm profile

Shoutbox

Leave a comment. Log in to Last.fm or sign up.

Listening Now

Top Listeners

Email Newsletter

Universal Music Group Get exclusive tour, release & promotion updates on Sonny Rollins from Universal Music.