- Rollins, Sonny
orig. Theodore Walter Rollinsborn Sept. 7, 1930, New York, N.Y., U.S.U.S. jazz saxophonist and composer.Rollins was inspired by Coleman Hawkins and Charlie Parker and performed with many musicians in the late 1940s, including Miles Davis. A member of the Clifford Brown–Max Roach quintet in 1955–57, he later formed his own groups. Rollins's robust tone and technical dexterity are matched with athletic endurance in the service of the logical evolution of ideas in his solos.
* * *▪ American musicianbyname Newk, original name Theodore Walter Rollinsborn Sept. 7, 1930, New York, N.Y., U.S.American jazz musician, a tenor saxophonist who was among the finest improvisers on the instrument to appear since the mid-1950s.Rollins grew up in a neighbourhood where Thelonious Monk (Monk, Thelonious), Coleman Hawkins (Hawkins, Coleman) (his early idol), and Bud Powell (Powell, Bud) were playing. After recording with the latter in 1949, Rollins began recording with Miles Davis (Davis, Miles) in 1951. During the next three years he composed three of his best-known tunes, “Oleo,” “Doxy,” and “Airegin,” and continued to work with Davis, Charlie Parker (Parker, Charlie), and others. Following his withdrawal from music in 1954 to cure a heroin addiction, Rollins reemerged with the Clifford Brown (Brown, Clifford)–Max Roach (Roach, Max) quintet in 1955, and the next four years proved to be his most fertile.Beginning with a style drawn primarily from Parker, Rollins became a master of intelligent and provocative spontaneity that was combined with an excellent command of the tenor sax. The clarity of thought evident in his improvisations stands out in jazz history. Rollins displayed an interest in unaccompanied saxophone improvisation and gross manipulations of tone colour long before such techniques became common in modern jazz. He was also one of the first to successfully improvise when alternately ignoring tempo and swinging within a single solo while his accompanists adhered to a preset tempo and chord progression. In these respects he was particularly influential with avant-garde saxophonists of the 1960s and '70s.
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