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Sonny Rollins (1930- )

Theodore Walter "Sonny" Rollins (born September 7, 1930 in New York City) is an American jazz tenor saxophonist. Rollins' long, prolific career began at the age of 11, and he was playing with piano legend Theonious Monk before reaching the age of 20. Rollins is still touring and recording today, having outlived most of his contemporaries such as John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Max Roach, and Art Blakey, all performers with whom he recorded.

The only specific online reference to Rollins being vegetarian is from a chat board contributor writing 'I know he is a vegetarian' - which usually would not mean much, but the following puts it into context - from

In the 1950s, his yearning for something deeper led him to Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda. Then, during a concert tour in 1963 in Japan, Rollins met the Oki Yoga group, which combines yoga and Zen with some principles of martial arts. By 1968, when he traveled to India to explore yoga more deeply, he was ready to put music and fame aside to devote his life to spiritual pursuits. But in the ashram where he wound up, a teacher persuaded him to stick to what he did best. "He told me, 'Sonny, your karma yoga is to play music,'" Rollins recalls. "I would be bringing joy to people. That was a proper way to live."

While at the ashram Rollins soaked up all he could about karma and bhakti yoga and other ways to purify his body and soul. "It had a tremendous influence on me," he says. "I was always trying to find a center, and yoga provided that." He left with a much clearer understanding of his path, which is about using music as a force for good.

. . . These days Rollins, whose wife died in 2004, still practices asana every day, including Halasana (Plow Pose) and Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose). He continues to look forward: "I have a lot to contribute," he says. "I hope I can use music in an even more spiritual way."


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