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On the morning of September 11, 2001, Sonny Rollins was in his home, located six blocks from the World Trade Center. His evacuation the next day happened to be filmed by CNN. Despite the travel restrictions, Rollins and his band managed to make their September 15 gig at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston. Rollins was still shook up and unsure whether or not he should perform, but his stalwart wife Lucille convinced him to go on.
The result is this beautiful recording, five long songs full of energy and hope. "Without a Song" starts things off warm and lively, with seamless support by Rollins' band: Clifton Anderson (trombone), Stephen Scott (piano), Bob Cranshaw (electric bass), Perry Wilson (drums) and Kimati Dinizulu (percussion). Next is Rollins' classic tune "Global Warming," fifteen sublime minutes of engaging calypso. "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" is more subdued, a lovely meditation with a warm, reflective Rollins and a delicate piano solo by Scott. "Why Was I Born?" starts off with a Rollins solo and then leaps into full swing. The recording wraps up with the Rodgers/Hart piece "Where or When," a nice mid-tempo number with a playful lilt.
A professional musician performs no matter how he or she may feel. One of the most poignant moments on the recording is when Rollins tells the audience, "We must remember that music is one of the beautiful things in life, so we have to try to keep the music alive in some kind of way. Maybe music can help; I don't know, but we have to try something these days."
Track Listing: Without A Song; Global Warming; Introductions; A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square; Why
Was I Born?; Where Or When.
Personnel: Sonny Rollins: tenor saxophone; Stephen Scott: piano, kalimba; Bob Cranshaw: electric bass; Perry Wilson: drums; Kimati Dinizulu: percussion.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.