Without a Song: The 9/11 Concert



A Rollins fan who had been following the saxophone colossus for half a century listened to this new release, looked dreamily ahead and sighed, “What a weightlifter.”

Rollins followers know that live Rollins releases have been rarities in recent decades, just three in the last 30 years. But this one has the added drama of its backstory: Four days earlier, Rollins had been evacuated, shaken, from his New York apartment, which was six blocks from the World Trade Center. His Boston appearance was the city’s first major jazz event in the aftermath of the national tragedy.

Rollins’ few spoken words underscore the moment and the transcendent promise of music and art right from the opener. He masterfully delivers the melody “Without a Song” and quickly moves from embellishment to elaboration and invention, returning after a couple of his bandmates have soloed to trade licks with percussionist Kimati Dinizulu and climb to a higher plane to close things out. The Rollins calypso “Global Warming” follows as an ebullient romp, and the energy never wanes through three more standards: “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square,” “Why Was I Born?” and “Where or When.”

It leaves one hoping to hear Rollins for decades more.

W. Kim Heron is the managing editor of Metro Times. E-mail wkheron@metrotimes.com.