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The Jazz FM Awards 2013: Meet the Nominees: Sonny Rollins – nominated for International Jazz Artist

New York born Theodore Walter “Sonny” Rollins has had a big reputation from the start.  With influences like Coleman Hawkins, Fats Waller and Louis Armstrong, Sonny started playing the saxophone at a young age.  In the early fifties, he established a reputation first among musicians, then the public, as the most brash and creative young tenor on the scene.  From New York to Chicago, “Newk” had soared in the music industry.  His many awards are endless.  In 2006, he was inducted into the Academy of Achievement, – and gave a solo performance – at the International Achievement Summit in Los Angeles. The event was hosted by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg and attended by world leaders as well as distinguished figures in the arts and sciences.  Rollins was awarded the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, First Class, in November 2009. The award is one of Austria’s highest honours, given to leading international figures for distinguished achievements. The only other American artists who have received this recognition are Frank Sinatra and Jessye Norman.  In 2010 on the eve of his 80th birthday, Sonny Rollins was one of 229 leaders in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, arts, business, and public affairs who have been elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  In August 2010, Rollins was named the Edward MacDowell Medallist, the first jazz composer to be so honoured. The Medal has been awarded annually since 1960 to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to his or her field.  Yet another major award was bestowed on Rollins on March 2, 2011, when he received the Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama in a White House ceremony. Rollins accepted the award, the nation’s highest honour for artistic excellence, “on behalf of the gods of our music.”  Since 2006, Rollins has been releasing his music on his own label, Doxy Records and continues to make musical history.