The A&R men at Prestige condemned Sonny Rollins to a perpetual nickname in 1956, when they titled his seventh album Saxophone Colossus. But if Rollins is tired of the moniker, he has only himself to blame for earning it over and over again for half a century. At 79, Rollins hasn’t lost any of his boundless energy or capacity for invention on the horn. Even hoary old standards become new again at his command, and his own compositions—often little more than glorified riffs—continue to yield new ground for his hefty rhythmic attack and muscular harmonies. At your first concert or your 50th, the sheer force of his musical will is simply astonishing. When they measure Rollins up for the final tally of great jazz saxophonists, even “colossus” may turn out to be an understatement.
ROLLINS PERFORMS AT 8 P.M. AT THE KENNEDY CENTER’S CONCERT HALL, 2700 F ST. NW. $35-$78. (202) 467-4600.