All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

173

The Cosmosamatics: Free Within The Law

Jerry D'Souza By

Sign in to view read count
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 the Nineties. He had Marcus on his recording, Transcendence (CIMP), which came out in 1996. Five years later came the release of The Cosomosamatics followed by The Cosmosamatics II, both of which were on Boxholder Records.

Simmons and Marcus are at ease with the permutations of free jazz, but their writing here goes well beyond that. Their compositions take in other shades of jazz, making this album one that not only grabs attention with its diversity but also stamps the credentials of the band as a driving, creative force.

"Free Within the Law" careens like a drunk, swerving along the head on horns and arco. Once the pulse is set, Simmons and Marcus zap in with ardent vigor. The pace is frenetic as the two bob and weave, cut and swap lines, and turn up the heat. It is a big brawling expression of freedom that never falls into the chasm of predictability.

The mood takes quite a different turn on "Afro Funk." Yes, it's funky alright, with Simmons blowing the enchanting melody and Marcus adding a bottom layer on the sweet tones of the Bb clarinet. The melody is exposed through sinuous lines and once more the men with the horns not only clasp on ensemble lines, but also thread their way through each others lines. Lewis's rhythm is insistent, yet he lets in subtle shifts of time and emphasis while Herbert is rock steady—all of which makes for a dazzling cornucopia of sound.

"Morning Daffodil" starts as a ballad with Marcus and Simmons drawing taut lines. The symmetry in their voices is inspired, their measured notes singing in tandem. Marcus goes on his own to take the road to bop, inventing convoluted lines that breathe from the lower register of the tenor. Simmons prances on the lighter tone of the alto sax, but is not averse to loosening high flying phrases that sit nicely in the land of intuitive response.

The power and the majesty of the band is rife in every note. They set up challenges and meet them head on, which makes for absorbing music.


Track Listing: Free Within The Law; Afro Funk; Janet

Personnel: Sonny Simmons: alto sax, English horn; Michael Marcus: tenor sax, Bb clarinet; Peter Herbert: bass; Art Lewis: drums.

Title: Free Within The Law | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Not Two Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
Read more articles
Free Within The Law

Free Within The Law

Not Two Records
2008

buy
Magnitudes

Magnitudes

Black Saint
2005

buy
Reeds & Birds

Reeds & Birds

Not Two Records
2005

buy

Related Articles

Read Walk The Walk CD/LP/Track Review
Walk The Walk
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Vol II CD/LP/Track Review
Vol II
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Months, Weeks and Days CD/LP/Track Review
Months, Weeks and Days
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Space Is The Place CD/LP/Track Review
Space Is The Place
by James Fleming
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Poetry in Motion CD/LP/Track Review
Poetry in Motion
by Liz Goodwin
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Murals CD/LP/Track Review
Murals
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 20, 2018
Read "The Influencing Machine" CD/LP/Track Review The Influencing Machine
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 17, 2018
Read "Sediments" CD/LP/Track Review Sediments
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 10, 2018
Read "Highsmith" CD/LP/Track Review Highsmith
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 7, 2017
Read "Before, Now & After" CD/LP/Track Review Before, Now & After
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 29, 2018
Read "NJO 40" CD/LP/Track Review NJO 40
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 1, 2017
Read "Manhattan" CD/LP/Track Review Manhattan
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 1, 2018