Rollins, Richards Among Attendees At Jazz Foundation Benefit

Saxophonist Sonny Rollins will receive a lifetime achievement prize from the Jazz Foundation of America, and Keith Richards will be on hand at the gala to honor former Rolling Stones backup singer Merry Clayton.

Photo: AP Photo / MTI
Palace Of Arts, Budapest, Hungary

The foundation announced Tuesday that the lineup for its 14th annual “A Great Night In Harlem” benefit gala also will feature performances by Randy Weston, Ravi Coltrane, Donald Fagen and many others. Actor and activist Danny Glover will host a musical tribute to the late civil rights leader Julian Bond, who died earlier this year.

The program will take place Thursday at the Apollo Theater.

Rollins, 85, is widely regarded as one of the greatest living jazz musicians. He is being given an award that previously went to Quincy Jones and Herbie Hancock, among others.

Clayton, who suffered numerous injuries in a car accident in 2014, is to receive the foundation’s first ever Clark & Gwen Terry Award for courage. A backup singer for many major performers, Clayton is known to Rolling Stones fans for her searing vocals on the classic “Gimme Shelter” and was featured in the Oscar-winning documentary about backup singers, “20 Feet from Stardom.”

Rollins also has a place in the Stones’ history: His work is featured on the ballad “Waiting On a Friend” and on the raucous “Neighbors.”

Proceeds from Thursday’s event will be donated to the foundation’s Musicians Emergency Fund. The jazz foundation provides a wide range of services, from helping to pay rent to providing medical care.