The Austrian Cross of Honor is like Austria's version of the Nobel Prize. It's given to distinguished people in the arts and sciences to celebrate their achievements, and the number of awards is limited so only 72 living persons may possess one. Only three Americans have ever received one: Frank Sinatra, opera singer Jessye Norman and jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins.
Rollins is widely seen as one of the masters of the instrument and performed with jazz greats like Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis and John Coltrane.
Rollins has been recognized for his genius domestically as well. He was recently elected to the 229-member board of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Heck, Rollins apparently can't stop getting recognized for his talents--it's even happening locally.
Sunday, Jan. 23, at the Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy, local jazz players like Phil Garonzik, Brent Jensen and Marcus Wolfe will tribute the sax master with Tenor Madness, a performance of some of Rollins' best cuts. The show will conclude with a tenor sax battle.