Announced last week via ESP-Disk’s tweet, Sirone passed away in Berlin at 69, one of the classiest bass players who worked with the likes of Cecil Taylor, Dewey Redman, Marion Brown, Revolutionary Ensemble, Noah Howard, etc.  A key figure in free jazz, a muscular player, and a unique spirit.

(photo credit: Larry Fink)

From Streams of Expression, a tribute playlist and a d/l link so you can listen along: streams of expression: A Tribute to Sirone.

Here’s somewhat of an obit from Blog to Comm.

Here’s another obit from Lars Gotrich of A Blog Supreme/NPR Jazz.

No Treble did an obit, too.

And a Sirone quote taken from an All About Jazz piece published in 2005 :

I put a definite attention towards the composition merely as a path of reaching the point where we can find that magical moment when you understand…that to reach that point of that freedom is discipline and that discipline is a study, this is why that word [free] doesn’t sit so well with me because it has been abused, the music has been abused by that word ‘free’. Sometimes you get a lot of noise.

I first encountered Sirone working under his given name Norris Jones (Sirone seems to be a modified reversal of Norris, doesn’t it?) on a Marion Brown LP called Three for Shepp (in turn, titled after Shepp’s LP, Four for Trane).  He doesn’t solo too often but Three for Shepp was a favorite and I listened to it over and over again.  After listening a while I just kept honing in on the bass playing and fell in love with it.

About six months later I went through a heavy Cecil Taylor Unit phase and again was consistently drawn to the bass playing.  I’m not sure how I realized Norris Jones and Sirone were the same person but at least I was consistent!  This realization led me directly to the Revolutionary Ensemble LPs and Sirone’s fate as one of my favorite workers of the thud staff was sealed.

I’ll be playing a track or two ten from Sirone as a small large tribute on my radio show tomorrow morning.

Should also mention this small piece of serendipity.  On hearing of Sirone’s death there were some emails going back and forth on the WFMU email list.  Dave Mandl put in a recommendation for a Sirone record called Artistry which he ripped from his brother’s LP years ago and had never seen a copy since.  The very next day I stumbled upon an original copy at the WFMU Record Fair and bought it!  Cosmic! (A post dedicated to some of my record fair finds is coming soon…)

UPDATED 10/27: This link launches the Sirone tribute portion of the 10/27 edition of The Long Rally.