Making two trips to the White House within a calendar year, to receive two of the nation's most prestigious awards bestowed upon artists, is more than fairly momentous. Those are significant feathers in the ol' capsurely reasons to crow or, at the very least, feel pretty satisfied about oneself. So it had to be a hell of a year for Sonny Rollinshad to be. But, with the ever level-headed, realistic and humble Rollins, one wouldn't really notice it. He doesn't classify 2011 as that special. Rollins sees it as a year when he continued to develop his music andat timesreached satisfactory levels. That's not bad for the reigning king of jazz improvisation, who is notoriously hard on himself.
R.J. DeLuke spoke with the 81 year-old Rollins about being one of five recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors, awarded annually for exemplary lifetime achievement in the performing arts, and the tenor saxophonist's trip to Washington, DC in the spring of 2011, to receive the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama. And, of course, there's plenty of talk about the music and how, after two successful live recordings, Rollins plans to return to the studio recording for his next release.