bringing a message".
The scene : a small hotel room near Barbès (Paris,
a man who's been playing with Cindy Blackman, Joe Bonner,
Anthony Braxton, James Carter, Denis Charles, Don Cherry,
Earl Cross, Andrew Cyrille, Richard Davis, Barbara Donald,
Ray Drummond, Earl Freeman, Jimmy Garrison, Eddie Henderson, John
Hicks, Billy Higgins, Bobby Hutcherson, Elvin Jones, Clifford Jordan,
Ed Kelly, Oliver Lake, Prince Lasha, Art Lewis, Frank Lowe, Cecil
McBee, Michael Marcus, Charles and Charnett Moffett, Grachan Moncur,
Sunny Murray, Gary Peacock, Dewey Redman, Sonny Rollins, Woody Shaw,
Lonnie Liston Smith, Juma Sultan, Horace Tapscott, McCoy Tyner,
Michael White, Bert Wilson, Smiley Winters, Reggie Workman, James
Zitro ? SONNY SIMMONS !
disciple of Charlie Parker. The heir of John Coltrane and Albert
Ayler. The partner of Eric Dolphy. Sonny Simmons stands tall.
what he says. Ahead of his time. Of every time. 25th century.
Free jazz ? Avant-garde ? One misses the point. He nods his head
in disapproval. He's beyond that - "free jazz", "avant-garde".
First thing - it's a vocation. Not a musical style.
He couldn't have done anything else, but "play the
horn". And embrace an extreme lifestyle. Poète
a mission, too. A spiritual
one. His father was baptist preacher and a voodoo
priest. He recognizes Albert Ayler both as a
master, and a brother. "Music is the healing force
of the universe." He's a healer. His playing has
a soothing quality akin to that of John Coltrane.
Once again, it's beyond notes, chords, improvisation, free or
not. Voodoo, eastern philosophy, the Church, the blues - he's
a synthesis, his music, a succesful syncretism.
Performing an Ancient Ritual. Telling
the Tales of the Ancient East.
else do we learn from such an impressive list ? He's firmly rooted
in a tradition. He's a disciple of Charlie
Parker. Not only a master saxophonist : it's all about
excitement. Inspiration. Bandstand
hero, dressed in black. Soft lights through the cloudy cigarettes,
glasses ringing in the midst of the bass solo. Elegiac (Dolphy,
again). The good side of the legacy. The dark (and necessary) side,
too : urban roots, bad guy, competition, survival of the toughest
in the American Jungle.
would be many other facets to explore. A black revolutionnary.
A composer. A man who's been under more than
once, but never failed to resurface, drawing cohorts of faithful
fans; homeless at the time he made the encyclopedias;
busier than ever in the new Millenium, when the jazz world thought
him out of notice.
says he. "It's not about Sonny
Simmons, it's not about the here and now, it's about YOU."
So, why a Sonny Simmons homepage ? For all the above reasons, and
more. 9 times out of 10, a man is a legend because
his true self his unknown to his contemporaries.
We at Hello World ! dare hope that our work will expand
the knowledge of this essential and leading figure - the
past, present and future of our music.
yourself. Please do that."
World ! is
curated by a bunch of "Burnt Spirits" : Marc Chaloin, Michel Kristof,
Roy Morris, Julien Palomo.
Thanks to J.J., Maud and Astrid. Derek Styles for additionnal research.
original contents, including but not limited to text and photographs,
except if otherwise indicated, is Copyright Hello World !
©2004-2012. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole, in
part, or in any form without express written permission of Hello
World ! is prohibited.
name, Sonny Simmons, is used with the artist's
kind permission. This is an authorized website.
photographs used in this website are the property of their authors
and are used with their kind permission. We would like to thank
the family of the late Dr. Gilbert Maurisson (to whom this site
is dedicated), and also Christian Boullangier and Daniel Lebée,
for allowing us to use the pictures featured on Jazz-Passion.
on these pages are copyrighted, cover images especially. The author
acknowledges the copyrights. In most cases, the legitimate copyright
holders have an interest in maintaining the popularity of the artist
and his music, and will therefore not object to the use of those
images. This is not a commercial web site. If any copyright holder
does object, please contact the author and he shall remove the offending
Layout and Graphics other than those mentioned above are Copyright
©2004-2012Hello World ! and cannot be used in any
form or medium without written permission from Hello World !.
For informations related to Mr. Simmons' professional
activities, booking and/or recordings, contact
here for a complete presskit including
biography and photos.
Site maintained by Julien Palomo. Any comments, suggestions, additions,
queries, highly welcome !
Always more Sonny Simmons-related material. Private tapes tend to
get rare, sources are scattered to the extreme, unknown to us, and too many areas and eras of Mr. Simmons' artistry remain
undocumented. Join and help us in the task of centralizing,
archiving and preserving the music of Sonny Simmons ! The
gathering of these documents is made under the control of the artist.
Also any testimony of fellow musicians, producers, fans... would
be greatly appreciated.