Taking Names: Sonny Rollins wins big at Jazz Awards

Tenor sax legend Sonny Rollins was a triple winner at this year’s annual Jazz Awards, garnering musician of the year honors for the second straight year.

Mr. Rollins also repeated Wednesday as the top tenor saxophonist. His latest CD, “Road Shows, Vol. 2,” consisting of live recordings from concerts in Japan and his September 2010 80th birthday concert in New York highlighted by a first-ever public performance with free jazz visionary and alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman, was chosen the year’s best jazz recording.

“I was born with some talent for which I am grateful,” Mr. Rollins said in a statement read from the stage at the Blue Note jazz club by emcee Josh Jackson, host of WBGO’s jazz music magazine “The Checkout.”

“I copied and learned from my predecessors and I’m grateful to them, and I gratefully accept this award,” said Mr. Rollins, who could not attend the ceremony because he was moving to a new home in upstate New York.

Saxophonist Joe Lovano’s Us Five, featuring Grammy-winner Esperanza Spalding on bass and James Weidman on piano, was chosen the best small ensemble for the third consecutive year. The large ensemble honors went to the Mingus Big Band, dedicated to playing the compositions of the late bassist Charles Mingus.

Bassist Ben Williams, who released his debut album “State of Art” last year after winning the 2009 Thelonious Monk International Competition, was honored as the top up-and-coming artist.

Hard bop pianist-composer Horace Silver, known for creating such standards as “The Preacher,” “Sister Sadie,” and “Song For My Father,” received the award for lifetime achievement in jazz. Poet and political activist Amiri Baraka was recognized with the award for lifetime achievement in jazz journalism.

WWE’s John Cena grants 300th for Make-A-Wish

WWE superstar John Cena granted his 300th wish last week to a 7-year-old Pennsylvania boy with a spinal condition, continuing his streak as the most popular celebrity granter in Make-A-Wish Foundation history.

Jonny Littman wanted to meet his hero, and the WWE accommodated that wish June 18 before an episode of “Raw” live from New York’s Long Island. But Jonny got a bonus to his wish.

On Wednesday morning, Jonny was being interviewed on “Good Morning America” when Sam Champion asked him about his green T-shirt. After Jonny told him it was from John Cena, Mr. Champion asked if anyone knew the WWE Superstar.

The pro wrestler and actor walked out, to Jonny’s surprise, and presented him with another gift. This time it was tickets for him and his family to attend the 1,000th episode of the WWE show.

To put Mr. Cena’s 300 granted wishes in perspective, Michael Jordan has granted around 200 and Kobe Bryant is in the 100-wish range.

“I truly give hats off to Make-A-Wish for keeping statistics,” Mr. Cena said Monday before the show. “They had a nice little celebration for me at 200, and I humbly said we should do it at 1,000.

“We’re just getting started,” he said enthusiastically.

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