343

Sonny Simmons: The Traveller

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Sonny Simmons: The Traveller Every time a new Sonny Simmons record is released, reviewers encourage listeners to wake up to this shadowy figure. Simmons has always been a guy hovering behind the glory. In the '60s he seemed a footnote to Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy, and listeners bought Ayler on ESP before Simmons. His rediscovery in the late '80s was again a back page story to Ornette Coleman's return.

Well, Simmons is back again.

The Swedish label Jazzaway has produced three new sessions, the first of which is The Traveller. With music composed by conductor Vidar Johansen and a string quartet in tow, Simmons hasn't sounded better in his seventy-plus years!

Neither the strings nor the jazz quartet dominate this recording. Johansen integrates things nicely. The luscious three-minute introduction by piano/bass/drums plus rising strings queues Simmons to step into "Sunset, the sexiest composition on the recording. Simmons eschews the brash for the beautiful. He can charm you with just a few notes.

The strings function well, painting sweetness, but they are also well adapted here for a bit of the outward bound. Jon Klette's "Brainstorm frees the time signatures and allows for some exploration. Simmons' internal organization keeps things tied down and palatable.

Highlights here include "Armada, with its almost film score feel, and "Duet, which finds Simmons in his element—playing off the the bass notes of Mats Eilertsen. Simmons' voice on saxophone (and English horn) is one that should not be overlooked. As long as he keeps recording, someone will probably be there continuing to remind us to listen.


Track Listing: Humphrey; Armada; Spheres; Duet; Brainstorm; Sunset.

Personnel: Sonny Simmons: alto saxophone, English horn; Anders Aarum: piano; Mats Eilertsen: bass; Ole-Thomas Kolberg: drums; Harald Aadland: violin; Eyleen Siegel: violin; Bendik Foss: viola; Kari Ravnan: cello; Vidar Johansen: flute, conductor.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Jazzaway | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Honest Woman CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Backlog" CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: November 29, 2016
Read "Apprentice" CD/LP/Track Review Apprentice
by Alex Franquelli
Published: October 29, 2016
Read "The Long Road" CD/LP/Track Review The Long Road
by Troy Collins
Published: November 20, 2016
Read "Kucheza" CD/LP/Track Review Kucheza
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: January 1, 2017
Read "Boston, 1954" CD/LP/Track Review Boston, 1954
by Richard J Salvucci
Published: October 1, 2016
Read "Inhuman Wilderness" CD/LP/Track Review Inhuman Wilderness
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 6, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!