Sonny Rollins – “Without a Song” The 9/11 Concert – (Rollins, tenor sax; Clifton Anderson, trombone; Stephen Scott, piano & kalimba; Bob Cranshaw, electric bass; Perry Wilson, drums; Kimati Dinizulu, percussion) – Milestone

by | Oct 5, 2005 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Sonny Rollins – “Without a Song” The 9/11 Concert – (Rollins,
tenor sax; Clifton Anderson, trombone; Stephen Scott, piano &
kalimba; Bob Cranshaw, electric bass; Perry Wilson, drums; Kimati
Dinizulu, percussion) – Milestone MCD-9342-2 ****:

Rollins lived just six blocks from the World Trade Center and was in
the center of things on 9/11. On the 15th he had a gig with his band in
Boston, and had to drive there since flights were grounded. He
performed at the Berklee School of Music Performance Center and this is
the recording of 73 minutes from that very emotional two hour 40 minute
live concert. It was the first major jazz event in Boston since 9/11;
as the source of the hijacked flights and where so many of the
passengers lived, the city was described as “enveloped in desolation
despite the absence of any physical signs of destruction.”

Rollins reports that he was so shaken he has no real memories of the
evening, but he thought the experience was such a momentous occasion it
should be documented. Most of the half dozen tunes are standards from
his boyhood. He selected tracks that “didn’t have any horrible gaffes.”
His work was made harder by not having his wife and manager at his side
– she died November 2004. All the tracks allow plenty of time for
extended soloing and development.  Why Was I Born” is over 16
minutes and one new tune – Global Warming – is 15 minutes; it is
distinguished by a wonderful thumb-piano solo by pianist Scott. My fav
was the shortest of the tracks – A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
– with a glorious Rollins solo. The tenorman had not done a live album
since 1986 and there’s a few rough edges to this one, but the emotional
impact of the event overrides any complaints.  As Rollins is heard
saying to the Boston audience, “Maybe music can help, I don’t know, but
we have to try something these days.”  At age 75 Rollins isn’t
quitting by any means; he’s appeared at a number of different jazz
festival this summer and fall, is touring Japan this month, and will
tour Europe in early 2006.

Tracks:Without a Song, Global Warming, Introductions, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, Why Was I Born?, Where or When.

– John Henry 

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