Sonny Rollins’ Without a Song: The 9/11 Concert was recorded in Boston four days after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. Rollins, who lived in Lower Manhattan at the time, witnessed the event firsthand and was forced to evacuate his apartment. His appearance at the Boston performance is a testament to the power of music to heal and bring people together, and today, the album stands as one of jazz’s most powerful reactions to one of the darkest hours in American history. Given the seriousness of the situation, one might think Rollins and his quintet would opt for a program of somber material. But the band kept things light and uplifting with a program of Great American Songbook standards. That includes the title track, today’s Song of the Day, which, as Rollins mentions in a brief introduction to the audience, was an apt metaphor for the feelings of the country as a whole.
“It’s very appropriate at this time,” says Rollins as he introduces Vincent Youman’s’ “Without a Song.” “I think everybody feels this way.”