Wednesday, August 31, 2005

On second thought, stop the carnival.

Francis Davis in the Voice on Sonny Rollins' latest, a live recording made a week after 9/11, in Boston. Davis notes, "When Rollins goes first, everything else is anticlimactic, and when he goes last, as is more often the case, the wait seems forever—you wish he'd give trombone and piano their own features and grab the spotlight. Why have Bob Cranshaw play electric bass if all you ask him to do is walk? The constant buzz is a distraction, and an upright would blend more handsomely with the wood in Rollins's cello-like lower register. Adding Kimati Dinizulu's hand percussion to Perry Wilson's traps doesn't intensify the groove: With both of them going at it, the rhythm section just sounds busy. And Rollins's opening head arrangements of four standards, including 'Why Was I Born?' and 'A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square', are superfluous time killers." Davis' verdict? Rollins' best since Don't Stop the Carnival, close to thirty years ago.


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