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Continuum - A Review from Downbeat, October, 2004

by Ed Enright

Sonny Fortune


Sound Reason

Tuneful and burning, Continuum marks the third time since 1975 that Sonny Fortune has released a CD on his own label. This time around, the old-school reedman nails it, making a brave departure from his predominately major-label history. Logical yet passionate, Continuum presents Fortune as a riveting composer and instrumentalist who can go inside or out without losing his audience.

Fortune wrote seven of the nine tracks on Continuum , making obvious nods to John Coltrane and Mongo Santamaria , whose band Fortune joined upon his arrival in New York in 1967. Supported by a dexterous quartet, Fortune's compositional skilss combine with his exceptional chops, improvisational abilities and innate sensibility to create one of his finest CDs as a leader.

"Trane And Things" might elicit an initial laughs from listeners who hear just how much it sounds like Coltrane's take on "My Favorite Things" with its 3/4 time signature and throaty sax, not to mention a similar melody line. Fortune intended it that way, of course, and the tune serves well to kick off the CD with a rush of intensity.

On "Delialah", Fortune reveals the beauty of the song on alto flute, warm in tone and rich in vibrato. Fortune turns to tenor sax on "Wayne-ish" and the title track, where he solos with inventiveness and inspiration. Steve Berrios' congas color "Mongo Blue", which also features the leader on soprano. Fortune's alto soars through four of the tunes here, among them the surprisingly original 5/4 blues "Five Four Trane" and the beautiful ballad "A Space In Time".

-- Ed Enright

Continuum: Trane And Things; Wayne-Ish; Delialah; Sound's Silent; A space in Time; Continuum; Mongo Bluel Five Four Trane; Nature Boy. (65:56)

Personnel: Sonny Fortune, soprano sax (1, 7), alto sax (4, 5, 8, 9), tenor sax (2, 6), alto flute (3); George Cables, piano; Steve Johns, drums; Wayne Dockery, bass; Steve Berrios, cowbell (1), triangle (3, 4), congas (7).

Ordering Info: www.sonnyfortune.com

Reproduced with permission.

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