Jazz Great Sonny Rollins24:56

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Jazz great Sonny Rollins was there when the masters were neighbors. When Coleman Hawkins walked Harlem. When Monk and Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Bud Powell would pull up for a midnight jam.

And young Sonny — Theodore Walter Rollins — would pull out his tenor sax and paint the universe.

He was there for bebop and hard bop, with "Saxophone Colossus" and "The Bridge," and wailing with the Rolling Stones. And he’s still playing, in his 80th year.

This hour, On Point: the last jazz immortal Sonny Rollins.


Sonny Rollins joins us from New Paltz, New York. A Grammy Award-winning tenor saxophonist and composer, he's one of the biggest names in modern jazz. In a career spanning six decades, he's performed with such greats as Coleman Hawkins, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Max Roach, and John Coltrane. He begins his "80th Birthday Tour" in April.

Bob Blumenthal, jazz critic who has written for Down Beat, Jazz Times, The Village Voice, The Boston Globe, and The Atlantic. He holds two Grammy Awards for liner notes. He's the author of "Jazz: An Introduction to the History and Legends Behind America's Music." His forthcoming book on Sonny Rollins will be out in September.

Upcoming dates for Sonny Rollins' 80th Birthday tour include:
April 6     Orchestra Hall, Detroit, MI
April 9     Orchestra Hall, Chicago, IL
April 18   Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
May 10    Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA
May 13    Wheeler Auditorium, University of California, Berkeley, CA
May 16    Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, CA
May 19    Davis Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts Jackson Hall, Davis, CA
June 12   Discover Jazz Festival, Burlington, VT
June 23   Winnipeg Jazz Festival, Winnipeg, Canada
June 27  Montreal Jazz Festival, Montreal, Canada

This program aired on March 17, 2010.