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Sonny Simmons

Sonny Simmons made a number of striking albums in the 60's. Born in 1933, he was already a well-travelled Parkerian and a signaled innovator on the West Coast when he first came to national attention in 1963 with his debut recording “The Cry!” (with the Prince Lasha Quintet, on Contemporary), live appearances in NYC with Sonny Rollins, and sessions with Eric Dolphy (for whom he wrote the standard, “Music Matador”) and Coltrane's rhythm section (”Illumination!”, on Impulse).

Though not a die-hard avant-gardist (like Ornette Coleman and Jimmy Lyons, other alto sax luminaries from the same generation, he sticks in his own provocative way to the tradition), he was then a leading figure of the Free Jazz scene in NYC with his wife Barbara Donald, cutting legendary records for ESP in 1966, “Staying On The Watch” and “Music From The Spheres”. Back in California, he made an acclaimed appearance at the Jazz Symposyum in Berkeley (1969). He became an underground hero with the likes of Bert Wilson, James Zitro, Smiley Winters and producer James Bronson Jr. The period also provided landmark records for Arhoolie (”Manhattan Egos”) and Contemporary (”Firebirds”, “Rumasuma”, “Burning Spirits”), which met international response.

Then - nothing. Sonny Simmons suffered a spectacular eclipse during the 70's and the 80's. With the West Coast no longer providing work, family and personal problems, his career collapsed.

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Albums

Leaving Knowledge,...

Improvised Beings
2014

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Jazz-Maalika

SaptakJazz
2014

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Beyond The Planets

Milestone Records
2013

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Near The Oasis

Milestone Records
2011

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Symphony Of The...

Milestone Records
2011

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