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Sonny Simmons Trio: Live – In Paris

Now should be the time for Sonny Simmons, who turns 70 next year. The alto saxophonist is as persuasive as he was in the 1960s, when he collaborated with Prince Lasha on the minor classic, Firebirds (OJC), and contributed to such overlooked albums as the sextet date co-led by Elvin Jones and Jimmy Garrison, Illumination! (Impulse). Additionally, he has been championed by a subsequent generation of envelope-pushing jazz artists, such as Simmons’ cohorts in the Cosmosamatics.

What is not particularly needed at this juncture is an amateurishly engineered recording like the two-CD Live-In Paris. This club date has all the earmarks of a bootleg: too-close proximity of audience voices; tracks that abruptly and inexplicably fade out in the middle of a solo; the total absence of a stereo field; and the washy sound that is the fingerprint of small condenser microphones and battery-powered portable cassette recorders. Stunningly, however, the album was co-produced by Simmons and his Cosmosamatics front-line partner, Michael Marcus. To its credit, Arhoolie opted for two-for-one pricing for the album.

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