Sonny Rollins, Without A Song: The 9/11 Concert

Britt Robson

By Britt Robson

on 09.10.12 in Reviews

Without A Song The 9/11 Concert

Sonny Rollins
Showing the healing power of music in times of despair

Performed in Boston four days after the 9/11 tragedy at the World Trade Center, just blocks from Rollins’s apartment, the not-so-subtle subtext of Without a Song is the healing power of music and art in times of despair. It isn’t the best Rollins concert by a longshot; for one thing, the sidemen are afforded too many spaces. But as his first concert CD in 18 years, it is like a reunion with an old mentor — Rollins’s presence alone, with his well-deep tone and callisthenic phrasing, elevates memories of his past greatness. Coincidentally or not, the best moments here touch on the fragility of existence: The most inspired number is an extension of the calypso “Global Warming,” and another highlight in Sonny’s solo intro to “Why Was I Born?” Checking out the way he moves through the standard “Where or When” like a cross-cut saw isn’t a bad investment either.