“Music represents nature. Nature represents life. Jazz represents nature. Jazz is life.”Sonny Rollins
Born on September 7, 1930 in New York City, Sonny Rollins is widely recognized as one of the most important and influential jazz musicians of time and ever. In the 1950’s, through his work with Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and The Modern Jazz Quartet and solo, Rollins established his reputation as the most brash, creative, talented and innovative young tenor saxophonist on the scene. This period of performing and recording on Prestige Records was the beginning of Rollins’ extremely prolific career as a composer. The 1954 10-inch LP Miles Davis with Sonny Rollins featured three Rollins’ originals and future jazz standards “Oleo”, Airegin” and “Doxy”, which eventually became the name of his own record label. 1956 was a busy year for Rollins with the release of Sonny Rollins with the Modern Jazz Quartet, featuring six originals including “The Stopper”, “No Moe” and “Mambo Bounce”. Also that year, Rollins the innovator introduced the now common practice of playing bop in ¾ meter on his album Sonny Rollins Plus Four with his original “Valse Hot”. The album Tenor Madness featuring John Coltrane came next and is regarded as one of the most famous combo recordings of the 1950’s, as can be heard on the title track. To top off that golden year Rollins’ most well known and loved standard, “St. Thomas”, graced the world on critically acclaimed album Saxophone Collossus and initiated yet another signature contribution to the jazz idiom via his explorations of calypso patterns. Highly acclaimed albums Tour De Force and Sonny Boy followed in 1957, and in 1958 Rollins the visionary foreshadowed the political stances later taken in 1960’s jazz with his track “The Freedom Suite” off the album of the same name.