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Sonny Simmons

Primary Instrument: Sax, alto

Born: August 4, 1933    

Sonny Simmons

Sonny Simmons made a number of striking albums in the 60's. Born in 1933, he was already a well-travelled Parkerian and a signaled innovator on the West Coast when he first came to national attention in 1963 with his debut recording “The Cry!” (with the Prince Lasha Quintet, on Contemporary), live appearances in NYC with Sonny Rollins, and sessions with Eric Dolphy (for whom he wrote the standard, “Music Matador”) and Coltrane's rhythm section (”Illumination!”, on Impulse).

Though not a die-hard avant-gardist (like Ornette Coleman and Jimmy Lyons, other alto sax luminaries from the same generation, he sticks in his own provocative way to the tradition), he was then a leading figure of the Free Jazz scene in NYC with his wife Barbara Donald, cutting legendary records for ESP in 1966, “Staying On The Watch” and “Music From The Spheres”. Back in California, he made an acclaimed appearance at the Jazz Symposyum in Berkeley (1969). He became an underground hero with the likes of Bert Wilson, James Zitro, Smiley Winters and producer James Bronson Jr. The period also provided landmark records for Arhoolie (”Manhattan Egos”) and Contemporary (”Firebirds”, “Rumasuma”, “Burning Spirits”), which met international response....
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  • Jazz-Maalika

    SaptakJazz
    2014
  • Leaving Knowledge, Wisdom And Brilliance / Chasing The Bird?

    Milestone Records
    2014
  • Beyond The Planets

    Milestone Records
    2013
  • Symphony Of The Peacocks

    Milestone Records
    2011
  • Near The Oasis

    Milestone Records
    2011
  • Staying on the Watch

    ESP Disk
    2010
  • This Is The Music Of Life Vol. 2, Live At Zebulon

    Milestone Records
    2008
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