This interview with Sonny Rollins was commissioned as an NEA Jazz Masters oral history in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution’s Jazz Oral History Program, recorded on Feb. 28, 2011 at the Willard Hotel in Washington DC. Rollins, who was 80 years old at the time, seemed to enjoy the questions and the flow of the conversation, which stretched to nearly 3 hours, pausing only to change tapes.
Appelbaum: Let me begin by just asking some basics to establish some context.
Tell us first of all the date you were born and your full name at birth.
Rollins: Oh, I was afraid you were going to ask me that. Ok, my full name at birth was
Walter Theodore Rollins, and I was born September 7, Sunday morning, 1930 in Harlem,
America on 137th Street between Lenox and 7th Avenues. There was a midwife
that delivered me, and…
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