Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Sonny Fortune

  • Long Before Our Mothers Cried [Strata-East, 1974] B+
  • Awakening [Horizon, 1975] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Long Before Our Mothers Cried [Strata-East, 1974]
Support your local jazz musicians. Fortune is a sax player whose warm-up for the Wailers at Schafer turned my head around not with its originality--Fortune is a cultivator rather than a ground-breaker--but with its commitment to plain good music, from bop to new thing. A righteous thing to do with your life, and righteous to hear. Despite even the bracing piano comps of Stanley Cowell, there's nothing compelling here. But satisfying. B+

Awakening [Horizon, 1975]
I'd better watch out or I'm gonna turn into a fan of this guy. No great innovations, as I mentioned in conjunction with his Strata-East LP (shame on A&M for calling this "his debut as a great leader"; what's the catch, the last one wasn't great?), but plenty great synthesis. Shades of hard bop and late-'50s Miles in a more modal setting, so lyrical and tough-minded that the 12-minute flute-and-congas thing (the title cut, wouldn't you know) becomes quite credible, even listenable. A-