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Sonny Rollins to Receive Kennedy Center Honor

Other recipients are Meryl Streep, Yo-Yo Ma, Neil Diamond, Barbara Cook

Sonny Rollins

Another day, another monumental cultural award for Sonny Rollins, the saxophone colossus who turns 81 today. This morning, it was announced that Rollins will be feted at the 34th annual Kennedy Center Honors, along with actress Meryl Streep, singer Barbara Cook, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and singer-songwriter Neil Diamond.

The Honors Gala will occur on Dec. 4 and be telecast via CBS on Dec. 27 at 9 p.m. EST. (The awardees will receive their medallions the night prior, during a State Department dinner presided over by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.) As a press release notes, the gala will take place in the Kennedy Center’s Opera House, where “Honorees will be saluted by great performers from New York, Hollywood, and the arts capitals of the world. Seated with the President of the United States and Mrs. Obama, the Honorees will accept the thanks of their peers and fans through performances and heartfelt tributes.”

Past recipients from the jazz world include Benny Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, Lena Horne, Dave Brubeck, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Quincy Jones, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton.

In other Rollins news, his excellent new live album Road Shows, Vol. 2 will be released on Sept. 13. The disc includes highlights from Rollins’ now-historic 80th birthday celebration last year at New York City’s Beacon Theatre. For Thomas Conrad’s JazzTimes album review, click here.

Also check out Michael J. West’s coverage of the 2009 Honors featuring Dave Brubeck.

Originally Published