Don CHERRY, Lennart ABERG, Bobo STENSON – Dona Nostra 1993

Don CHERRY, Lennart ABERG, Bobo STENSON – Dona Nostra 1993
Recorded at Rainbow Studio, Oslo, Norway in March 1993.

Jazz

DONA NOSTRA doesn’t exactly hark back to the days of SYMPHONY FOR IMPROVISERS or the MU sessions, but it is a refreshing and splendid departure from Cherry’s early ’90s explorations into pop/funk and choppy urban hybrids (re: MULTI-KULTI and ART DECO, both of which are superb).

DONA NOSTRA finds Cherry both restrained and contemplative, as he generally allows the semi-orchestral canvas to be painted by his supporting cast rather than by his trumpet’s flare. The percussive semantics of Okay Temiz help to bring a slightly Turkish spin to the tentative Euro-haze of the record, and Cherry’s pihorn, when ordered, makes for a most capricious foil. Tracks such as the group-penned “Vienna” realize a plethora of moods that snap like a taut elastic band from nouveau cool to free and back again. Lovely.
**
Critics have bemoaned Don Cherry’s utterly unique approach to the trumpet/pocket trumpet/cornet since his arrival on the scene as part of Ornette Coleman’s quartets of the late 1950s. And with his late-career foray into a relatively straight-ahead jazz quintet date on Dona Nostra, Cherry still elicited questioning about his chops. Critics wondered whether Cherry had lost his lip, prodding him with the same questions critics had fired off decades earlier. Of course Cherry hadn’t lost his touch; he’d only heightened his interrogation of virtuosity, opting for singularity of phrasing over obvious flash. With pianist Bobo Stenson in this group, there is a harmonic daring that’s fascinating to hear around Cherry. The tunes are austere in spots, as the ECM Records production credo would suggest–if not mandate. But they’re also lyrical, sparkling in their clarity and cooled-down energy. It’s Cherry unmistakably, being an irreplaceable genius.
By Andrew Bartlett.
**
Very much an ECM recording – austere and stark and rarely swinging. Jazz legend Don Cherry works with a quintet of European musicians; Cherry gets top billing but he’s the guest sitting in as opposed to leading. The first three and a half minutes of “Fort Cherry” consist of Don Cherry playing trumpet in a trio with drummer Anders Kjellberg and percussionist Okay Temiz. Anders Jormin contributes some scraping and other percussive sounds on the bass before pianist Bobo Stenson joins with some abstract chording. Saxophonist Lennart Åberg and Cherry trade the languid theme back and forth before the piece ends – they have sort of a Euro-World-Jazz thing going. The following track “Arrows”, one of several tracks that is credited to all members, sounds more like an improvisation than a composition – like a Jackson Pollock painting where all the random bits and pieces come together to create the whole. All of the tracks save one have the same slow tempo and almost sound like a suite rather than different songs. The one track that stands out is Ornette Coleman’s “Race Face”, a grooving hardbop-style tune that gives Åberg and Kjellberg a chance to cut loose (Kjellberg is scorching). Outside of the Ornette tune there’s not much to offer the diehard jazz fan. But for fans of abstract-improvisational-worldbeat-Eurojazz “Dona Nostra” is a rewarding recording. In fact, if you ever wondered what the Bley/Surman/Peacock/Oxley ECM recording “In the Evenings Out There” would sound like with a trumpet added – and who hasn’t – this is it.
By Douglas T. Martin
**
Don Cherry- Trumpet
Lennart Aberg- Soprano & Tenor Sax, Alto Flute
Bobo Stenson- Piano
Anders Jormin- Bass
Anders Kjellberg- Drums
Okay Temiz- Percussion
**
01. In Memoriam  7:48
02. Fort Cherry  6:34
03. Arrows  5:16
04. M’Bizo  8:38
05. Race Face  4:22
06. Prayer  4:53
07. What Reason Could I Give  3:44
08. Vienna  5:26
09. Ahayu-da  9:14
**


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