Monday, January 31, 2011

Frank Rosaly and the Lost Sounds of Prince Lasha and Sonny Simmons

Posted By on 01.31.11 at 03:24 PM

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Tonight at the Skylark, superb local percussionist Frank Rosaly debuts a good-looking quintet called Green and Gold, which he formed to play the music made in the 60s by the duo of reedists Prince Lasha and Sonny Simmons. Lasha, best known as a flute player, was born in Forth Worth, Texas, but moved to California in the 50s, alongside fellow free-jazz travelers and former Texans like Ornette Coleman, John Carter, and Bobby Bradford. He died in 2008, and sadly he's been all but forgotten. Last year Dusty Groove reissued his album Insight, a 1966 date recorded live in London.

Simmons, who grew up in the Bay Area, has also been overlooked in jazz histories, but he's a superb post-Coleman alto saxophonist (and one of the few jazz musicians to play the English horn). In addition to working with Lasha, he made some great albums for ESP-Disk and Contemporary. Simmons no longer plays like he did at his peak in the 60s, but in the past few years he's put out a few new albums on the Jazzaway label, run by Norwegian reedist Jon Klette.

Green and Gold features Rosaly, reedists Nick Mazzarella and Cameron Pfiffner (the underrated coleader of the Sabertooth Quartet), cellist Tomeka Reid, and bassist Anton Hatwich. Tonight the group will focus on compositions from the excellent 1963 album The Cry! (Contemporary). Rosaly plans to tackle the music from the other key Prince Lasha/Sonny Simmons album, 1967's Firebirds, down the road.

Today's playlist:

Kako & His Orchestra, Live It Up (Musicor/Fania)
Noah Creshevsky, The Twilight of the Gods (Tzadik)
Toshimaru Nakamura, Egrets (Samadhisound)
Roberto Cecchetto, Mantra (Parco Della Musica)
The Fall, Your Future, Our Clutter (Domino)

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