All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Multiple Reviews

301

Solo Alto Sax: Sonny Simmons, Steve Coleman & Laura Toxvaerd

By

Sign in to view read count








Sonny Simmons
Ecstatic Nostalgia
Record Label #1
Year


Steve Coleman
Invisible Paths: First Scattering
Tzadik
2007


Laura Toxvaerd
no. 1
Ilk Music
2007




Solo saxophone music may—at poetic peak—achieve poignant expressions meshing logic, pain, melody and wit in skeins of purling beauty. Some coming to mind have emanated from Steve Lacy, Dave Liebman, Ned Rothenberg, Jane Ira Bloom. Here three altoists hold forth and some sustain a rare beauty.

Sonny Simmons, septuagenarian elder, takes his sweet time on Ecstatic Nostalgia and speaks with confident confidentiality, ever mature, mellow, intimate. Cut of a piece these excursions distill reflections on a long career, checkered with a 20-year hiatus. Lengthy fantasia "Exotic Study haunts phrases of Bronislau Kaper's "Invitation , Stravinsky's famed bassoon lick from Rite of Spring, Gil 'n' Miles. Simmons touches many peers: Charlie Parker's incessant melodicism, Eric Dolphy's soaring top-to-toe arpeggios, Sonny Stitt's searing altissimo, Frank Morgan's melancholic whimsy, Cannonball Adderley's ripe plums. Marvelously bizarre on bright, firm English horn, "My Favorite Things trucks less with 'Trane than Turkish zurna; the brief alto version reminisces wistfully—a ghost of Christmas past? Meditations on Monk slide from dusty-musty to clarion and airborne. A blues goes slow and sumptuous.

Steve Coleman, theorist and pure player, floats arpeggiated lines bent, Alexander Calder-like, to exacting geometrical shapes throughout Invisible Paths. "The Witness snakes alluringly. "Facing West reimagines post-bop in bright, bannering ragtags. "Clouds ascend breathily to a wispy beyond — horsetails into cirrostratus. Each essay solves its self-posed puzzle—sublime saxophonic sudoku. Coleman's arcs and patterns do fascinate: poised, placid, did we say pure?

Laura Toxvaerd, a young Dane, delivers a studio suite of blown/electronic miniatures and plays live pieces strung together for her debut no. 1. Studio tracks blare, oddly riveting and mechanistic, like Devo (eg, "Tin Soldier ) while her live bits (all under three minutes) warm before eyes, molasses chips melting to taffy. Toxvaerd's musical forbears range from unoiled industrial machinery to avian farmyard protestations. Quick-cut soundalikes run amok from acoustic (toxic Ayler shrieks, rampantly detuned Ornette Free Jazz, bassoonish buffoonery, Hemphill chorales, David Ware grit and Willem Breuker tonic shenanigans [half to full speed]) to some electronica (Mother Mallard, Supersax crushed in a 24-ounce tomato can [basil added]) and possibly beyond.


Tracks and Personnel

Ecstatic Nostalgia

Tracks: Introduction: Ode To Thelonious Monk; My Favorite Things; The Promise; Exotic Study; My Favorite Things; Blues For Everyday Life; Out Of Love.

Personnel: Sonny Simmons: alto saxophone

Invisible Paths: First Scattering

Tracks: Ascending Numeration: Reformed; Shift; Possession of Images; Negative Secondary; The Witness; Invisible Paths; Fundamental Disturbance I; Fecundation: 070118; Embodiment; Facing West; Clouds; Back at the Crib; Cardinal-Fixed-Mutable; Fundamental Disturbance II; Individualization; Fecundation: 070118 (Another View).

Personnel: Steve Coleman: alto saxophone.

no. 1

Tracks: Part I; Part II

Personnel: Laura Toxvaerd: alto saxophone.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Two Contrasting Releases From Bertrand Denzler Multiple Reviews
Two Contrasting Releases From Bertrand Denzler
by John Eyles
Published: July 22, 2018
Read Groovemeisters: Dennis Coffey and Barry Goldberg Multiple Reviews
Groovemeisters: Dennis Coffey and Barry Goldberg
by Doug Collette
Published: July 20, 2018
Read Gene Clark sings For You and A Trip Through The Rose Garden Multiple Reviews
Gene Clark sings For You and A Trip Through The Rose Garden
by Doug Collette
Published: July 8, 2018
Read Steve Wynn: Kerosene Man and Dazzling Display Multiple Reviews
Steve Wynn: Kerosene Man and Dazzling Display
by Doug Collette
Published: July 1, 2018
Read Boyer & Talton and Cowboy Multiple Reviews
Boyer & Talton and Cowboy
by Doug Collette
Published: June 23, 2018
Read The Song Poetry of William Parker Multiple Reviews
The Song Poetry of William Parker
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 19, 2018
Read "Clean Feed 2018" Multiple Reviews Clean Feed 2018
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 9, 2018
Read "A Selection of Jazz on Sonorama" Multiple Reviews A Selection of Jazz on Sonorama
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: March 18, 2018
Read "Two Sides of John Wetton" Multiple Reviews Two Sides of John Wetton
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 20, 2017
Read "The Possibilities of Percussion: Yarn/Wire & ensemble, et. al" Multiple Reviews The Possibilities of Percussion: Yarn/Wire & ensemble,...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 12, 2017