The Cosmosamatics--an ever-evolving ensemble co-led by multi-reedists Sonny Simmons and Michael Marcus--was founded in 2000, though the seeds were arguably planted many years earlier. Half a century ago, Simmons was cutting his teeth with multi-reedists Prince Lasha, Eric Dolphy and others of the so-called free jazz movement. Marcus made his name in the avant/free circles of a later generation, so there was a natural symmetry to their eventual meeting in the early 1980s and subsequent collaborations. The Cosmosamatics has always paid musical homage to its spiritual forbearers such as alto saxophonist Charlie Parker, Dolphy, bassist Charles Mingus, pianist Sun Ra; ...read more
Since their founding in 2002, the Cosmosamatics have been one of the most exciting groups in jazz. Spearheaded by twin souls Sonny Simmons and Michael Marcus, the band has thus far released nine recordings and one live DVD. Part of the Cosmosamatics' strength lies in their openness to new sounds and players, and over the years they have incorporated a movable feast of musicians, including bassist William Parker, drummer Andrew Cyrille, and saxophonist James Carter. On their new release, Jazz-Maalika, they are joined by several Indian musicians, and the resulting music is a shimmering blend of East and West, set ...read more
Sonny Simmons (alto sax, English horn) and Michael Marcus (tenor sax, Bb clarinet) are the twin sentinels of the powerhouse quartet, The Cosmosamatics, whose dynamic is enhanced by Art Lewis (drums) and Peter Herbert (bass). The familiarity between Simmons and Marcus helps drive the music as they fathom and develop ideas on the go. Lewis pumps the rhythm for the front line, but he has long been one to divine the recourse and path of a tune.
Simmons was an integral presence of the avant-garde scene of the Sixties. He dropped out of sight only to return in ...read more
This group has fortunately been documented quite a few times on record, and consequently this disc offers insight into an ongoing affair. The front line of woodwind multi-instrumentalists Sonny Simmons and Michael Marcus has now not only established the kind of rapport Simmons used to have with Prince Lasha forty odd years ago, but also moved beyond it, which is just as it should be.
This is abundantly obvious from the off. The opening title track finds the two men jousting like there's no tomorrow, with lines spinning off into the ether at a high rate. Their efforts are given ...read more
The Cosmosamatics Alchemia Krakow, Poland October 3, 2006In the mid-1960s, when Louisiana-born saxophonist, Sonny Simmons was probably at his most influential, a succession of important jazz musicians converged on a club in Krakow, Poland called the Helikon. Some of the younger musicians developed an ebullient, devil-may-care attitude and style that drew a great deal from the free jazz experiments taking place across the Atlantic. The communist authorities were not amused, especially when some of the regulars at the club, such as trumpeter, Tomasz Stanko and saxophonist, Janusz Muniak, dared to carry their alarming ...read more
What started as a song title on a trio session for CIMP nearly ten years ago (Transcendence, 1996) has blossomed into one of the most consistent and fruitful partnerships in jazz. The Cosmosamatics (primarily alto elder statesman Sonny Simmons and multireedist Michael Marcus) dabble in bop, post bop, and free jazz, with tightly written and arranged heads and abrupt tempo shifts and twists in between.The band has had various members since its inception, but Jay Rosen has been the constant on drums: the compositions tend to be built on percussive and driving foundations, with Rosen's steady cymbals and ...read more
Reeds & Birds is an excellent tribute to the adventurous spirit of Charlie Parker. The album soars with a technical facility that is, like Bird's, furious and musical, yet effortless and cool. Playing some of Parker's more obscure compositions like Cheryl," Drifting on a Reed," and Bird Feathers," the group of Michael Marcus, Sonny Simmons, and drummers Clifford Barbaro and Jay Rosen (on Avant-Garde Destruct") also contributes originals like the quick shock of Intoxicating Galaxies," the bop pops of 49th Street Stomp," and the ambitious Avant-Garde Destruct."
The celebration on Reeds & Birds is very much in the bop tradition ...read more
In the last couple of years Sonny Simmons has gone from hard-to-find to all-over-the-place. Burning Spirits was reissued by Fantasy, his early ESP and Arhoolie albums are available on iTunes, and he's managed to sustain steady output from the Cosmosamatics, the working group he co-leads with Michael Marcus. Simmons is a link in the saxophone chain that originates with Charlie Parker, extends to Ornette and Eric Dolphy, and now joins Marcus to that tradition of excellence. On Reeds & Birds the connection is made explicit as the two musicians (along with guest drummer Clifford Barbaro) tackle Parker's Cheryl" (twice), Drifting ...read more
While uninspired free jazz lingers in mediocrity, meandering aimlessly by the guise of minimalism, The Cosmosamatics have demanded invention, observing the lineage and celebrating the history. Inspired by the awareness of Sonny Simmons and the enlightenment of Michael Marcus, The Cosmosamatics champion the relevancy of the music.All About Jazz: The Cosmosamatics have been in play for a handful of years. Sonny Simmons: That's true. Absolu monde. We are very close Marcman and I. We not only love the music and are true to it, but we are very good friends from long ago. At this particular ...read more
Their nom de plume conjures celestial images of an errant Arkestral offshoot surfing the space ways in Sun Ra’s otherworldly wake. Musically the results of this inspired, if at times uneven, conference of first rung creative music improvisers yields musical manna worthy of such comparisons. Simmons and Marcus, both sorely under appreciated reedsmiths, share compositional chores, but aside from the sturdy harmonic pinions that structure the pieces the bulk of their content remains the province of individual and collective improvisation.
Marcus wrings out a deep throaty tone on tenor during the opening “Quasar” beaming lustrous streams of melodic light against ...read more
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