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Continuum - A Review from Jazziz, June, 2004

by Bob Weinberg


Sound Reason

Although Sonny Fortune only played with John Coltrane once, Trane exerted a profound infuence. This connection was explicit not only on the saxophonist's 1999 recording, In the Spirit of John Coltrane, but in almost every note he"s played since that encounter. On Continuum, Fortune's first album for his new Sound Reason imprint, he continues to evoke the passion, commitment, and integrity of his mentor without resorting to slavish imitation.

Switching among soprano, tenor, and alto saxophones and alto flute, Fortune seems less intense than on In the Spirit but he still breathes fire. George Cables offers typically solid and sparkling support on piano. And nimble-fingered Wayne Dockery and coloristic drummer Steve Johns complement the sax man with elegance and verve. Fortune had recorded the opening track "trane and Things" earlier on In the Spirit. Continuum also offers a reprise of his reworked "My Favorite Thing," with his pure-toned soprano joyously lilting like a swift-moving sloop navigating choppy waters.

Fortune also nods in the direction of Wayne Shorter with the exhuberant "Wayne-ish" and to Mongo Santamaria, whom he honors with the heartfelt "Mongo Blue." Written soon after the percussionist/composer passed away, the latter piece features some gentle conga stroking from Steve Berrios.

For "Deliala," Fortune floats a warm-toned, lyrical flute above quietly rumbling bass and drums played with mallets. In contrast, the simmering title track reveals Fortune at his fiery best, blowing with seemingly effortless invention, as the ideas tumble from his horn.

Continuum is a masterful effort from a relatively unsung hero, who at age 65, continues to play at an extremely high level. Fortune's composing, improvising, and phrasing bespeak the maturity of a great artist in whom the lessons of his mentors were never forgotten.

-- Bob Weinberg

Reproduced with permission.

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