Born in New York in 1930, Sonny Rollins is an important figure in American jazz history, a renowned tenor saxophonist. He worked with Miles Davis in '51 and Thelonius Monk in '53, but his breakthrough came in '54 when he recorded his "Oleo," "Airegin" and "Doxy." Piano-less accompaniment was a striking feature of his ensemble work, as he used bass and drums instead.
Rollins took more than one sabbatical. "The Bridge" was a successful comeback album, named because he practiced for it on the Williamsburg Bridge. He is featured in the documentary, "Saxophone Colossus," won Grammys in 2001 and 2006, and appeared at Carnegie Hall on the 50th anniversary of his first performance there. He received the National Medal of Arts in 2010.