Sonny Simmons

HueySonnySimmons (August 4, 1933 – April 6, 2021) was an American jazz musician.

Simmons was born on August 4, 1933 in Sicily Island, Louisiana. He grew up in Oakland, California, where he began playing the English horn. (Along with Vinny Golia, Simmons was among the few musicians to play the instrument in a jazz context.) At age 16 he took up the alto saxophone, which became his primary instrument. Simmons played primarily in an avant-garde style, often delving into free jazz.

His then-wife, Barbara Donald, played trumpet on several of his early records, including his ESP-Disk titles Staying on the Watch and Music from the Spheres; Arhoolie title Manhattan Egos, and Contemporary titles Rumasuma and the double album Burning SpiritsSimmons also partnered with Prince Lasha on several recordings, two of which – The Cry! (1963) and Firebirds (1968) – were released by Contemporary.

Share this post

Leave a Comment