Sonny Simmons

Staying on the Watch

The noted West Coast composer makes his ESP debut accompanied by his then wife, Barbara Donald, on trumpet, Teddy Smith on bass, John Hicks on piano, and Marvin Pattillo on percussion. Recorded in August 1966, Staying on the Watch is an important infusion of straight-ahead and avant jazz. Barbara Donald is a superb trumpeter who has made a stern contribution to the legacy of women performers and has been widely written about. Also, pianist John Hicks, who makes his New York debut on the record, went on to become one of the most prolific pianists in jazz.


Barbara Donald: trumpet
Sonny Simmons: alto sax
John Hicks: piano
Teddy Smith: bass
Marvin Pattillo: percussion

Track Listing

2.A Distant Voice3.City Of David 4.Interplanetary Travelers  

NYC, August 30, 1966

** part of ESP-Disk' ESP 4012.

Press Quotes

“Altoist Sonny Simmons' debut as a leader is a typically stimulating and dense ESP blowout. Performing in a quintet with trumpeter Barbara Donald, the up-and-coming pianist John Hicks, bassist Teddy Smith and drummer Marvin Pattillo, Simmons stretches out on four colorful and mostly free-form originals. The intense set still sounds quite advanced over three decades later.” – Scott Yanow (All Music Guide)

“Always a volatile personality, Simmons cut his music in the late 60s with a finely honed edge. On ‘A Distant Voice’ he pushes his alto into English horn territory (which Simmons would later regularly employ). Then-wife Barbara Donald on trumpet is key to the band’s forceful sound. Staying on the Watch marks the debut of pianist John Hicks, who brings ‘City of David’ to a rousing finish. – Jeff Stockton (All About Jazz)

Musicians: Barbara Donald / Sonny Simmons / John Hicks / Teddy Smith / Marvin Pattillo

Play the samples

Digital download Choice of WAVS or MP3s
Compact Disk In Digipak with liner notes
  • Product Code: ESP1030
  • Reward Points: 300
  • Availability: In Stock
  • CD $9.98
  • WAV Download $8.99
  • MP3 Download $8.99

Add to Cart