By Sean J. O'Connell
Sonny Rollins is one of the greatest living jazz musicians. Since his first recording session with trombonist J.J. Johnson in 1949, he has relentlessly dedicated himself to discovering the limits of the honking beast. This Thursday he's at UCLA as part of a powerhouse quintet that will likely send shivers down your spine.
That's all well and good, but has he had his picture taken with any presidents? Absolutely! Earlier this year, President Obama awkwardly bestowed the National Medal of Arts upon him. Despite jazz's origins in back alleys and brothels, the genre has worked its way into white houses and other official venues. Thus, we now present you a new feature, albeit one you will never see here again: Pictures Of Jazz Players With Presidents!
Jimmy Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, drummer Max Roach
No matter how many times Dizzy makes a “Salt Peanuts” joke, you have to laugh.
Cab Calloway, Ladybird Johnson, Lyndon Johnson, vocalist Pearl Bailey
Lyndon Johnson is relieved to learn that the Hi De Ho Man and Ho Chi Minh are two very different people.
Vibraphonist Lionel Hampton and George W. Bush
Bush goes in for the forehead kiss.
Ronald Reagan and Ray Charles
Reagan introduces his newest Secretary of Transportation.
Sonny Rollins and Barack Obama
Obama ponders how gray his hair will be in a year.
Bill Clinton and bassist Ron Carter
After countless impassioned requests, bassist Ron Carter finally lets Clinton do his Stan Getz impression.