Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sonny Simmons - Leaving Knowledge, Wisdom And Brilliance (Improvising Beings, 2014)

This is the first part of an ambitious 8 CD box set by the legendary alto saxophonist and English horn (cor anglais) player Sonny Simmons. Simmons has had many ups and downs during his long career, but finally has true support from a record label, and it shows in this adventurous set. Leaving Knowledge, Wisdom And Brilliance makes up the first four discs and his Simmons in the company of Bruno Gregiore on percussion, Michel Kristof on esraj, sitar, guembri and percussion and Julien Palomo on keyboards and percussion. The music has the air of a mystical ceremony or ancient rite, with ominous clanking percussion and strong and exotic sitar making for an epic backdrop for Simmons' expressive horns, blowing long and billowing lines flowing in and around the music on performances like the multi-part suite “You Are Not Higher Than Angels” and sections where mumbled chanted speech lend a chilling feeling to what becomes a solemn spiritual ceremony. The music takes you on a journey throughout space and time, leaving the notion of “jazz” far behind. Leaving Knowledge, Wisdom and Brilliance - Improvising Beings.

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