Sonny Simmons Trio - Live at Knitting Factory

Richard Moule, Signal To Noise

Veteran alto sax man Sonny Simmons probaly needs no introduction here, his resume dating back to the mid '60s with his classic ESP recordings and his incredible Firebirds LP with Prince Lasha on up through more recent work for Quincy Jones Qwest label and three CDs with the Cosmosamatics. Simmons has also worked with Hayden Shurdut, but on this date from the 2001 Vision Festival, the reed man stays largely within the free bop realm. Compared with the caustic tone of Allemansratten, Live at the Knitting Factory overflows with hope and joy and an impish sense of fun. Simmons shows he hasn't lost his searching tone on the Eric Dolphy-like "Cosmic Ship", its short, bright, melodic phrases and long tone burst fueled by drummer Ronnie Burrage's Max Roach-style rolls, while bassist Cameron Brown holds down the fort. "Rev Church" is a funky soul number that heats up in the middle, like something off a '60s Jackie MacLean LP, containing Simmons' off the cuff scat/chant/sound poem that brings the house down. His spoken word free associations turn political on "Pas Bon", where he rails against domestic and governmental violence. "New groove Mode" brings the concert full circle, back to the tenacious inside/outside playing of "Cosmic Ship", this time at double clip.