The tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins composed the tune ‘St.Thomas’ in 1956 and with this hit he introduced the calypso to the world of jazz. Sonny Rollins’ parents were born on the US Virgin Islands while they were still under Danish rule. They later left for the USA where Sonny Rollins was born in Harlem, New York, in 1930.
The tune ‘St.Thomas’ was composed from the melodies Sonny Rollin’s mother used to sing to him as a child and which she remembered from her childhood on the island. The tune is world famous, and now forms part of the cultural heritage of the islands.
Olaf G. Hendriks – known as ‘Bronco’ – plays ‘St.Thomas’. He is a retired psychiatrist now studying family history. He also plays in a band on St. Croix.