Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Cosmosomatics - Free Within the Law (Not Two, 2008)

I have loved the tart and citrus tone of alto saxophonist and occasional English Horn player Sonny Simmons since I discovered his music during his short tenure on Warner Brothers Records during the mid-1990's. Simmons' style of saxophone playing is bright, sharp and risk-taking, reminiscent of the great Eric Dolphy. He has been a journeyman throughout his lengthy career, but lately he has been well served by several European labels for his solo work and collaborations like this group which includes Michael Marcus on tenor saxophone and clarinet, Peter Herbert on bass and Art Lewis on drums. This album is split between tracks recorded in the studio and live in concert in Poland. The open with the title track "Free Within the Law" which is a very intense piece of free-bop and I think that the title alludes to the music which is very free and open, but yet never gets so wild as to betray form and function. "Afro Funk" comes down from the stratosphere a little bit, using a great bass and drums pocket as a basis for the improvisation. "Janet's Moods" has some nearly telepathic intertwining of the saxophones. The live tracks include the beautiful ballad "Morning Daffodil" and the headlong Ornette-ish rush of "The Polish Rally" bring the disc to a very exciting conclusion. I liked this disc a lot and thought it was a fine continuation of the bop into free music begun with musicians like Ornette Coleman, Jackie McLean and Eric Dolphy.

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