Adam Simmons

Led by multi-reed virtuoso, Adam Simmons, this trio, along with bassist Howard Cairns and drummer Anthony Baker, is another facet of Simmons’ music, which includes his solo project, quartet, and the renowned Adam Simmons Toy Band. Presenting largely new material, this trio sees Adam focusing solely on alto saxophone, working within self-imposed limitations (alto saxophone only) in order to more fully explore the sonic possibilities – similar to the Japanese art of folding paper, working from a simple starting point with a square piece of paper to create pieces of great complexity and beauty. 

The debut CD "The Blues of Joy" captures the birth of the trio as it was recorded within a week of Origami's first performance. After four gigs in a row, the fifth at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club (presented by the Melbourne Jazz Co-Op) was recorded live with a session two days later in Howard's back shed in Newport. Myles Mumford was the engineer for both sessions and has produced a rich, warm sound, capturing beautifully the interplay between each member of the trio. The bulk of the compositions are by Adam, with a couple of surprise covers by artists such as Outkast, Merle Haggard and Snow Patrol.

Australian jazz legend Sandy Evans comments of this release:

I have been a fan of Adam's playing for a long time. I think of him as a brilliant multi-intstrumentalist, so I was curious to hear this CD, when he told me that he was only playing alto saxophone. What glorious alto saxophone playing it is. An overarching joy exudes from every not: whether it's the soulful, introspective jazz interpretation of the country classic "Sometimes I Dream," the relentless 16th groove of  "Morse Code," the Ornette playfulness of "The Blues of Joy" or the menacing intensity of the slow build of "Chimera"

Adam's playing combines subtlety and grace of phrasing with a vibrant, elastic jazz energy. Warm, supportive, inventive bass playing from Howard Cairns harmonises with the dynamic, colourful drumming of Anthony Baker. The band revels in exploring the wonderfully open musical palette that Adam presents through his compositions and improvisational concepts. This CD is a gem; beautifully crafted and a delight to listen to.

Bringing together three highly experienced and respected improvising musicians, Origami is music making of the highest order, drawing freely from a range of styles to create a joyous, spontaneous and inventive program of music.

Adam Simmons – alto saxophone

Adam is a composer and sought after woodwind multi-instrumentalist, involved across many different scenes within Melbourne and beyond, performing contemporary jazz, punk, afro-beat, new music, traditional Japanese honkyo-ku, funk and free noise/improv. In 2004, Adam received a Special Award from the Freedman Foundation, facilitating a period of work and study in New York, Germany and Poland. As part of the 2006 Melbourne Fringe Festival, a special Retrospective of Adam's work was held – featuring over 200 musicians in 40 configurations over three weeks. 

His current ensembles include: Adam Simmons Toy Band, Adam Simmons Quartet, New Blood, Nick Tsiavos Ensemble, BOLT Ensemble, Embers, Steve Purcell’s Pearly Shells, Big Fela, Collider and Bennetts Lane Big Band. 

Other artists that Adam has worked with include: Ernest Ranglin, Nigel Kennedy, Peter Brotzmann, Odean Pope, The Mavis's, You Am I, KK Null, Ursel Schlicht, John Hollenbeck, Ned Rothenberg, Jacek Kochan, CW Stoneking and Spontaneous Human Combustion.

Since 2009 Adam has also been working as a visual art, creating music box assemblages and is represented by Catherine Asquith Gallery, Collingwood. In Oct 2010 he exhibited at the National Museum in Szczecin, Poland and was a selected finalist in the 2010 Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize.

Anthony Baker – drums

Anthony has been playing in the Melbourne jazz scene since 1980.  During this time he has played with many local jazz musicians including Kate Ceberano, Jex Saarelaht, Barney Mcall, Lachlan Davidson, Colin Hopkins, Mark Fitzgibbon and overseas artists such as Michel Benebig (New Caledonia) and Bruce Forman (USA). 

Howard Cairns – double bass

Having initially begun in music with church Brass Bands, Howard strummed his way through the folk music of the late 60's , university in the 70's, and eventually found his way to playing in the Sydney "new wave" music scene, in "Wildlife Documentaries – with ex-Saint, Ivor Hay, during the mid 80's.  He then joined the hard working Sydney Band , The Eddys, which was the catalyst in moving to Melbourne. Here Howard found work with the Dancehall Racketeers, The Yarra Yarra Jazz Band, Red Onions Jazz Band, Allan Browne's New Orleans Rascals, James Sherlock Trio, Ross Hannaford Trio, Michelle Nicolle Quartet and recently Way Out West, as well as leading his own ensembles, Blow It Out Ya Brass Band and the Howard Cairns Quintet.



Origami is…

Adam Simmons:  Alto Saxophone

Howard Cairns:  Double Bass

Anthony Baker:  Drum Kit and Electronics




The Blues of Joy – Origami (Listen/Hear Collective)
Adam Simmons (solo)
Live at Plama – New Blood
Metamorphosis – Adam Simmons Quartet (Sound Vault Records)
3 Concerts  - Adam Simmons Quartet/Ursel Schlicht DVD (Sound Vault Records)
Happy Jacket – Adam Simmons Toy Band (Dr Jim's Records)
Heavy Water – New Blood (Sound Vault Records)
Etudes – Adam Simmons Solo
Looking for Something a Little Different? – Adam Simmons Quartet (Sound Vault Records)



"bloody wonderful!" – Owen McKern, Delivery, 3RRR FM

"Simmons is a monster" – Robert Spencer, Cadence Magazine (USA)

"Adam Simmons – a player with an astonishing dynamic and tonal range at his disposal" – Jessica Nichols, The Age

"He created a massive, unremitting volume of sound on the threshold of pain which quickly drove one audience member from the hall. I loved it."  - Geoffrey Gartner, Australian Music Centre

"I can think of few players I know of who are as gifted and as receptive to collaborating and working with other musicians." - Rick Moody (author of The Ice Storm), The Rumpus (USA)

Category: Artists