All compositions by Sirone. Recorded, mixed and mastered June 10th/24th 2003 at “Das Tonstudio 24” by Dirk Kockjoy. Executive producer: Marek Winiarski. Photos by Achim Falkenthal (Sirone), Matthias Marx (B. Abarbanel-Wollf, U. Bartel), Jerzy Pustelnik (M. de Martin). Cover graphic and design by Christine Niederlag (ArtConText, Berlin).
Tracklist: 1. Aisha’s Serenade [10:41] 2. You Are Not Alone But We Are Few [07:34] 3. For All We Don’t Know [10:19] 4. Swingin’ On A String Of Things / For Albert [07:54] 5. You Are Not Alone But We Are Few / Reprise [05:40]
Sirone ( Norris Jones ) 1940 – 2009 | Photo by John Rogers
The fortunes of renowned musicians
in the field of improvised music can travel on widely varied roads. Some, like Cecil Taylor or Ornette Coleman, attain worldwide recognition, continuously playing and developing their music. Others, like Giuseppi Logan or the recently rediscovered Henry Grimes, have a period of activity followed by a life of obscurity, possibly enhanced by mental instability. Still others, after years of incredible experiences, continue to develop and pursue the music regardless of the sine wave of fame or fortune. To a high degree, the latter could be said to describe the career of bassist Norris Jones, better known by the name of Sirone. The list of musicians who have worked with Sirone is daunting. First of all, he was a co-founder (along with violinist Lereoy Jenkins and percussionist Jerome Coope) of the legendary Revolutionary Ensemble trio. In the course of nearly 40 years, he has performed and recorded with Marion Brown, Gato Barbieri, Pharoah Sanders, Noah Howard, Sonny Sharrock, Milford Graves, Sunny Murray, Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, Sun Ra, Charles Gayle, Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Roswell Rudd, Dewey Redman, Andrew Cyrille and Walt Dickerson.
Sirone moved to Berlin, Germany in the late 80s, where he has been ever since. He continues to perform regularly, both as a musician as well as an actor.
Sirone is back with the first recording of his compositions since 1980. The band is an extraordinary American/German project called Sirone’s Concord, on which he invited intriguing young saxophonist Ben Abarbanel-Wolff, original German violonist Ulli Bartel, and the highly active percussionist Maurice de Martin to collaborate.
Hopefully, we won’t have to wait 23 years for the next one! — Andrzej Grabowski (2003)
Unless I’m mistaken
the last time bassist Sirone released an album under his own name before Concord was 1980, and one wonders why on earth we didn’t hear more of him in the intervening years. Concord is a quartet featuring Ben Abarbanel-Wolff on tenor saxophone, Ulli Bartel on violin and Maurice de Martin on drums, and their playing on these five Sirone originals is solid and convincing without being flashy. Bartel’s rich double stops support the arching melody of the opening “Aisha’s Serenade”, tapping into a rich vein of European folk fiddle. On “You are not alone but we are few” Sirone reaches for the bow and engages Bartel and Abarbanel-Wolff in sensitive dialogue, while de Martin adds deft touches of percussion colour. On “For all we don’t know” violin and saxophone stretch out on a simple modal melody in two-part harmony, while Sirone and Martin roll along underneath in fast triple time. It all flows effortlessly, and manages to be constantly engaging, even passionate, without ever going overboard. A boisterous drum solo leads without a break into the superb freebop “Swingin’ on a string of things / For Albert”, the Albert in question presumably being Ayler, as acknowledged by the gospel inflections of Abarbanel-Wolff’s splendidly gutsy solo, and Bartel plays Michel Sampson to perfection. The reprise of “You are not alone but we are few” is a fine touch, rounding off the album with another superb bass solo from the leader. European concert promoters who fall over themselves to book acts from New York (I’m thinking particularly of French festivals such as Banlieues Bleues and Sons d’Hiver) should turn their gaze to the east and sign these boys up fast. — Paristransatlantic
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