Sonny Rollins In The Storm

Yesterday afternoon, hydroplaning across the Cascade mountains toward Seattle in the first thunderstorm of the summer, I listened to an advance of Sonny Rollins’s next CD. The album is called Without A Song (The 9/11 Concert). It was recorded in Boston four days following the terrorist attacks on the twin towers in Lower Manhattan. Milestone will release it in August. Rollins is amazing on the title track and “Where or When.” Stephen Scott’s piano solos, dazzling and capricious, run Sonny a close second. Trombonist Clifton Anderson has a good night, and Bob Cranshaw demonstrates that a great player can give electric bass lines the definition, clarity, and swing of the acoustic instrument. The young drummer Perry Wilson and, on some tracks, percussionist Kimati Dinizulu kick things along, and the entire concert has a feeling of power and good humor.
I crested the summit of Snoqualmie Pass during a ferocious tenor solo on “Where or When,” then the CD ended to a thunderous ovation from the audience. At that moment the storm quadrupled its ferocity. The rain beat on the windshield with an intense roar. Lightning ripped across the horizon. It was as if the forces of nature were acknowledging one of their own.

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