Archive for the Don CHERRY Category

Steve LACY with Don CHERRY – Evidence 1961

Posted in Don CHERRY, JAZZ, Steve LACY on December 26, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Steve LACY with Don CHERRY – Evidence 1961
1990 Issue.

Jazz

Steve Lacy continues to dissect the Thelonious Monk catalog, performing four more of his tunes (The Straight Horn of Steve Lacy had three Monk tunes and Reflections was entirely Monk). Joining Lacy are two members of Ornette Coleman’s quartet, drummer Billy Higgins and trumpeter Don Cherry, as well as bassist Carl Brown. Clearly inspired by Ornette’s shaping of jazz to come, this album has no piano/guitar and thus no discernible chord changes, making the relationship between the melodies and harmony ambiguous.

What’s interesting is that the Monk selections sound as melodic and logical as ever, even in this anti-harmony context. If it’s possible to be disappointed in a Monk composition, my choice would be “Let’s Cool One,” only because it’s a tad simple and lacks the large interval leaps and rhythmic challenges he’s known for. Still, Don Cherry saves it with some of his catchiest and bluesiest choruses. The other three Monks are all A pluses, even if they’re not the most well-known. “Evidence” especially, it probably has fewer notes than any other Monk tune but the choice of what notes to use and when they’re played is so incredibly on the money. When Don Cherry solos, Lacy can’t help but play some of the head underneath.

The other two tunes here are both Ellington compositions, and while “Something to Live For” is only average, “The Mystery Song” fully lives up to its name. Lacy’s soprano sax is phrased alongside Cherry’s trumpet and Higgins works his toms like magic. Starting the album off on such a dark, downbeat note is odd but it only works in the album’s favor. Aficionados of Monk and/or Ornette and/or soprano sax should check this out.
By Coolidge.
**
Really wonderful work from a pair we wish we could have heard more often together! Steve Lacy’s early records are all pretty darn great, but this album’s a really special gem – a rare pairing with trumpeter Don Cherry, and an album with an incredibly haunting sound! There’s almost a bit more warmth here than some of Lacy’s other early records – and more than Cherry’s too, for that matter – as the pair move together marvelously through space that might be dubbed modal, but which also has a somewhat airy and open sense of freedom. Lacy brings in some of his usual love of Thelonious Monk, but the rhythmic progressions often move away from standard Monk modes – partly from the absence of piano on the set. Drummer Billy Higgins is especially great – playing with an almost melodic approach to his kit at times – and the quartet’s completed by bassist Carl Brown, who’s really won our attention with his work on the date. Titles include an incredible reading of Duke Ellington’s “The Mystery Song” – plus the tracks “Something To Live For”, “Let’s Cool One”, “Who Knows”, “San Francisco Holiday”, and “Let’s Cool One”.
From Dusty Groove.
**
Soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy continued his early exploration of Thelonious Monk’s compositions on this 1961 Prestige date, Evidence. Lacy worked extensively with Monk, absorbing the pianist’s intricate music and adding his individualist soprano saxophone mark to it. On this date, he employs the equally impressive Don Cherry on trumpet, who was playing with the Ornette Coleman quartet at the time, drummer Billy Higgins, who played with both Coleman and Monk, and bassist Carl Brown. Cherry proved capable of playing outside the jagged lines he formulated with Coleman, being just as complimentary and exciting in Monk’s arena with Lacy. Out of the six tracks, four are Monk’s compositions while the remaining are lesser known Ellington numbers: “The Mystery Song” and “Something to Live For” (co-written with Billy Strayhorn).
By Al Campbell. AMG.
**
Steve Lacy- Soprano Sax
Don Cherry- Trumpet
Carl Brown- Bass
Billy Higgins- Drums
**
01. The Mystery Song Ellington, Mills 5:45
02. Evidence Monk 4:59
03. Let’s Cool One Monk 6:43
04. San Francisco Holiday Monk 4:28
05. Something to Live For Ellington, Strayhorn 5:50
06. Who Knows? Monk 5:25
**
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Don CHERRY & The Jazz Composer's Orchestra – Relativity Suite 1973

Posted in Don CHERRY, JAZZ on December 17, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Don CHERRY & The Jazz Composer’s Orchestra – Relativity Suite 1973
JCOA LP 1006

Jazz

Don Cherry appeared on the first two releases by JCOA, albums under the leadership of label founders Carla Bley and Michael Mantler, so their decision to commission him for the third album seemed a wise move, as indeed it was. Using many of the same musicians who contributed to those records and were then established as the loose collective called the Jazz Composer’s Orchestra, Cherry molded into a suite a string of the pieces he’d been composing and performing in the previous few years. Under the tutelage of Pandit Pran Nath, Cherry had been studying and increasingly using Indian karnatic singing in his recordings and concerts; he begins this album with a similarly derived chant. As the energy heats up, the orchestra launches into the captivating Mali Doussn’gouni, featuring a raging tenor solo by Frank Lowe and delightful vocal acrobatics by Cherry. When it slowly dissolves into his achingly beautiful Desireless, the first half of the album comes to an extremely satisfying conclusion. The remainder of the session is somewhat more of a mixed bag, succeeding off and on. Highlights include Selene Fung’s lovely work on the ching, a Chinese koto-like instrument, and Ed Blackwell’s exuberant New Orleans marching patterns on the concluding number. While not as breathtaking or cohesive as his Eternal Rhythm, Relativity Suite almost matches that release in its first half and contains many a worthwhile joy. Recommended. By Brian Olemnick. AMG.
**
Trumpet, Woodwind [Conch], Voice, Percussion- Don Cherry
Bass- Charlie Haden
Drums- Ed Blackwell
Piano- Carla Bley
Alto Sax, Voice- Carlos Ward
Tenor Sax, Voice- Dewey Redman , Frank Lowe
Tuba- Jack Jeffers
French Horn- Sharon Freeman
Percussion- Paul Motian
Percussion [Ching]- Selene Fung (tracks B1)
Tambura- Moki Cherry (tracks B2)
Trombone- Brian Trentham
Cello- Jane Robertson , Pat Dixon
Viola – Joan Kalisch , Nan Newton
Violin- Leroy Jenkins
**
A1. Tantra   8:00
A2. Mali doussn’gouni   5:40
A3. Desireless   1:22
B1. The Queen of Tung-Ting Lake   4:30
B2. Trans-Love Airways   6:50
B3. Infinite Gentleness   3:22
B4. March of the Hobbits   3:38
**

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

Posted in Don CHERRY, JAZZ, Lennart ABERG on November 29, 2010 by whoisthemonk

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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The Codona Trilogy

Posted in Collin WALCOTT, Don CHERRY, JAZZ, Nana VASCONCELOS, The Codona Trilogy on November 16, 2010 by whoisthemonk

The Codona Trilogy
Recorded 1978, 1980, 1982
ECM 2033-35

Jazz

In the late 1970s and early `80s Brazilian percussionist Nana Vasconcelos, trumpeter Don Cherry, and sitar and tabla player Collin Walcott made a trio of albums that explored the musicians’ mutual interest in world music and avant-garde jazz improvisation. Originally released separately, the CONDONA albums were brought together and released as a box set by ECM in 2009. Those familiar with the catalogs of these pioneers will recognize the African, Indian, Middle Eastern, and Far Eastern influences, but it’s the collaborative alchemy that makes these sessions glow. Largely atmospheric and ambient, the music on each of the CONDONA albums provides an entrancing, ever-alluring trip around the globe.
**
When borders are eliminated, infinite possibilities arise. Perhaps the greatest achievement of ECM Records—especially during its first decade, when it was establishing the unique identity and aesthetic that has made it such a significant force over the past forty years—has been its ability to bring together artists of seemingly different backgrounds to create music that transcends style to become something altogether new. These days, musical labels are becoming increasingly meaningless, but ECM recognized early on that the artificial confines of categorization only constrained the music and so, while still considered to largely be a jazz label, ECM has constantly pushed the envelope and stretched the boundaries to allow new collaborations to create previously unheard of—unimagined, even—musical landscapes.

One of its most successful cross-pollinations was CODONA, a collective named after its three members—COllin Walcott, DOn Cherry and NAna Vasconcelos. By combining traditional instruments, including trumpet and organ, with ethnic instruments ranging from better-known (sitar, tabla) to lesser-known (berimbau, doussn’gouni), the trio created a new kind of music that would be collected under the gradually emerging World Music banner, but for which such a label was simply insufficient to express the depth and breadth of its music. Improvisation and composition seamlessly merged, as CODONA challenged all preconceptions of conventional instrumentation to create a sound that had not been heard before—and, with both Walcott and Cherry no longer alive, has not been heard since.

The group recorded three albums, simply titled CODONA (1979), CODONA 2 (1981) and CODONA 3 (1983), now collected into a single box, The CODONA TRILOGY, with revealing liner notes by ECM’s Steve Lake.

When the three multi-instrumentalists came together in 1978 to record their first album, they were all already familiar to fans of the label. Walcott, who was responsible for the group’s genesis, had already released two outstanding albums on ECM, 1976’s Cloud Dance and 1977’s Grazing Dreams, the latter featuring Don Cherry, although the two had already crossed paths on Cherry’s Hear and Now (Atlantic, 1976). Between his own work and that with Oregon—the collective quartet with Ralph Towner, Glen Moore and Paul McCandless that was both Walcott’s primary musical focus and a group that, in its own way, stretched the boundaries of jazz towards the World Music sphere—the fruit of Walcott’s Indian studies resulted in one of the most innovative sitarists and tablaists in the world, a musician who would use these and a plethora of percussion instruments found and made, to cross-pollinate music so far-reaching that the concept of purism became irrelevant. Walcott had also intersected with Vasconcelos in 1977 on fellow-Brazilian guitarist/pianist Egberto Gismonti’s seminal ECM disc, Sol do meio dia (1978).

Cherry may have established his reputation largely on the basis of his trumpet playing—being a key member of saxophonist Ornette Coleman’s early groups, and responsible for classics including Shape of Jazz to Come (Atlantic, 1959) and the preconception-shattering Free Jazz (A Collective Improvisation) (Atlantic, 1960)—but he was, in fact, a global traveler who absorbed the music and instruments of cultures around the world, creating his own kind of musical melange. At the same time that CODONA was forming, he was also reuniting with Coleman cohorts Dewey Redman (saxophone), Charlie Haden (bass) and Ed Blackwell (drums) in the group Old and New Dreams, that would release its eponymous debut on ECM in 1979 and the live follow-up, Playing, two years later. Cherry and Vasconcelos were no strangers to each other either; the two worked together on Cherry’s Organic Music Society (Caprice, 1972), while the trumpeter was living in Sweden, and the equally moving and more Afro-centric Multikulti (A&M, 1988).

Vasconcelos is a Brazilian legend who single-handedly brought the single-stringed, gourd-based berimbau into more popular awareness on albums including guitarist Pat Metheny’s Travels (ECM, 1983) and As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls (ECM, 1981) (with keyboardist Lyle Mays). But he’d already become an important member of the growing ECM family through his collaborations with Gismonti, and later, saxophonist Jan Garbarek. In addition to berimbau, Vasconcelos’ voice was a thing of raw beauty, and one of CODONA’s endearing and enduring features was its use of voices, albeit rarely in expected ways.

Despite the large improvisational component of CODONA, made immediately clear on the lengthy “Like That of Sky” that opens the group’s 1979, self-titled debut, there’s no question that this was a group with a concept. Given the vast number of instruments the trio had to work with, just the matter of choosing the right instruments for each piece suggests that considerable forethought went into all three of the group’s recordings. Still, a radio recording of the group from a Hamburg performance in September, 1978—the same month that they went into Tonstudio Bauer in Ludwigsburg, Germany, to record their debut—also clarifies just how much freedom was at play as well. And while CODONA possessed a unique ability to create a surprisingly rich soundscape from the sparest of instrumental combinations—Cherry’s flute, Walcott’s hammered dulcimer and Vasconcelos’ hand percussion on the collective improvisation “Codona” or Cherry’s trumpet, Walcott’s sitar and Vasconcelos’ hand percussion on the more propulsive “New Light”—on record the trio did take advantage of overdubbing to create more expansive audioscapes.

While later CODONA releases would be more democratic, compositionally speaking—most likely because, once Walcott brought the group into existence and it actually worked, his trio-mates began thinking more proactively about bringing music to the table—CODONA’s original music, other than the self-titled improv, is all from the sitarist/percussionist’s pen, with one significant exception. Brief though it may be, at less than four minutes, “Colemanwonder” is a curious medley of music from Ornette Coleman (“Race Face” and “Sortie”) and Stevie Wonder (his hit single, “Sir Duke”). The idea of combining Coleman with Wonder may be as oblique as the late T.J. Kirk’s combination of Thelonious Monk, James Brown and Rahsaan Roland Kirk, but it works almost in spite of itself, as Vasconcelos’ cuica (a Brazilian friction drum also know as the “laughing gourd” because of its distinctly human timbre) interacts throughout with Cherry’s trumpet and Walcott’s sitar.

“Mumakata” stands as one of the group’s finest tracks, where three voices are combined with Vasconcelos’ berimbau, Walcott’s buzzing, mbira-like sanza and Cherry’s harp-like doussn’gouni to create a singsong-like melody that would turn out to be a concert favorite. Between the three players, the instruments chosen, and the harmonic core of the melody, it’s perhaps most representative of the trio’s adherence to a philosophy where everything is possible and no single stylistic marker could define its sound and aesthetic.

CODONA 2 represented a number of changes for the group which, by the time of its release in 1981, was nearly four years old. Opening with Vasconcelos’ “Que Fraser,” which features Vasconcelos’ unschooled yet always evocative voice in a chant that rides above and sometimes alongside Cherry’s occasionally soaring trumpet, Walcott’s mix of call-and-response sitar and Vasconcelos’ particularly humanistic cuica, it’s a clear and logical progression from what came before. But a brief traditional African tune, “Godumaduma,” takes CODONA into completely new territory—a solo feature for Walcott’s sitar, overdubbed multiple times to create a pulsing, propulsive piece informed by classical composer Steve Reich’s concept of pulses.

Cherry’s lyrical “Malinye” is driven by his melodica, with Walcott’s timpani adding yet another new and unanticipated texture to the trio’s palette. At 12 minutes, it combines a feel not unlike an Italian piazza, as the tune’s folkloric ambience gradually expands to include trumpet and, later, a free section that joins vocals more akin to a conversation than a melody, with more dramatic timpani and, ultimately, a series of cascading vocal lines that lead into a closing section that features Walcott’s sanza, Cherry’s doussn’gouni and Vasconcelos’ berimbau in a gradually deepening three-way conversation.

As with its predecessor, CODONA 2 pays tribute to Ornette Coleman with the inclusion of the more obscure “Drip-Dry,” a largely improvisational vehicle for trumpet, sitar and percussion. While comparisons to Indian sitar masters would be unfair, it’s far from hyperbole to suggest that the late sitarist opened up a wealth of possibilities on the instrument that were never previously explored. Nor were they after his tragic death in 1984, in a car accident while on tour in Europe with Oregon. Walcott’s own two contributions to CODONA 2—the buoyant miniature “Walking on Eggs” and sparer, more pensive album closer, “Again and Again, Again,” which combines dissonant melodica with sitar and Vasconcelos’ contributions which, bird-like in nature, elicit images of the Amazon rainforest—again provide opportunities for the group to evolve, both sonically and conceptually.

CODONA 2 has been critically pegged as the trio’s least engaging album and, measured in context with the innovative and entirely unique debut, it’s perhaps possible to understand why, at the time, this was so. But years passed, distance and the opportunity to hear the album chronologically in between its two brethren makes clear that it’s an album unfairly undervalued and well worthy of reconsideration.

CODONA 3, on the other hand, captivates immediately with the trio’s interpretation of “Goshakabuchi,” a traditional Japanese piece that makes real ECM’s claim that its music is “the most beautiful sound next to silence.” Cherry’s trumpet is the primary voice, with Walcott’s hammered dulcimer creating a spacious and ethereal backdrop where empty space is, indeed, as profound and meaningful as anything the members of the group specifically play. It makes a case, in fact, for the idea that space can be an equal consideration in the creation of a musical landscape, rather than simply being less than anticipated gaps between notes. The power of silence is what makes the tune’s final section, with Vasconcelos providing greater forward motion with his hand percussion, so vivid and dramatic.

Walcott’s “Hey Da Ba Doom” returns to the compelling chant of CODONA’s “Mumakata,” driven again by sanza and doussn’gouni, while Cherry’s “Clicky Clacky” introduces a new element to the group’s stylistic palette. Still, with a lightly chugging rhythm, train whistle and Cherry’s blues-drenched lyrics, it’s Walcott’s sitar that skews “Clicky Clack” as CODONA delivers likely the first—and, equally likely, only—blues played on sitar, with some added color coming from a kazoo.

Walcott’s “Travel by Night” is a prequel to his “Travel by Day,” which would appear on his final album with Oregon before his death, Crossing (ECM, 1985). Equally abstruse thematically, it’s even more so than its partner because of its more unusual instrumentation—sitar, trumpet and berimbau, as opposed to Oregon’s 12-string acoustic guitar and bass. Walcott’s aptly titled “Lullaby” is a tranquil piece that, like “Godumaduma” on CODONA 2, explores the possibilities of multi-tracked sitar, but this time more folkloric than Reichian.

Cherry’s closer, “Inner Organs,” is a strangely melancholy piece, its organ drone and sanza creating a gentle backdrop supported by Vasconcelos’ spare percussion, gradually morphing into a more rhythmic coda featuring some of Cherry’s most lyrical and most outre trumpet playing of the box set.

Compositionally speaking, Vasconcelos is the least represented member of CODONA in the box, a shame since his own solo disc for ECM, 1980’s Saudade, is a wonderful mesh of raw, percussion-rich Brazilian music fused with lush orchestral arrangements from Egberto Gismonti. But his one tune for CODONA 3, “Trayra Boia,” is CODONA at its most experimental, with layers of conversational voices interspersed with cued melodies and falsetto singing.

That CODONA could represent such diversity—ranging from almost naïve folkloric simplicity to wildly unpredictable experimentation—is what made it such an important group, one whose full potential was likely yet to be completely tapped, with Walcott’s death a year after the release of what would be the group’s final album. Still, its three albums represent a legacy of imagination and creativity in an arena that combines and/or juxtaposes the antiquated with the futuristic; the jaggedly challenging with the purest lyricism; and the broadest swath of cultural references. Even “world music” is too narrow a definition to describe The CODONA Trilogy, and while jazz may be the closest one to fit, the truth is that CODONA’s persistent and relentless acknowledgement and rejection of musical stereotypes makes this collection of its entire oeuvre one that, for the uninitiated and familiar alike, will reveal more and more with each and every listen.
By John Kelman.
**
Codona was active from 1978 until Walcott passed away in 1984. They released three albums on ECM: Codona (ECM 1132), Codona 2 (ECM 1177) and Codona 3 (ECM 1243). The project’s name is composed by the first two letters of name of each one of them.

Codona was a free jazz and world fusion group which released three self-titled albums on the ECM label in 1978, 1980 and 1982. The trio consisted of Don Cherry, Collin Walcott, and Nana Vasconcelos.
**
Don Cherry- Trumpet, Doussn’gouni, Flutes, Organ, Melodica, Voice
Nana Vasconcelos- Berimbau, Cuica, Talking Drum, Percussion, Voice
Collin Walcott- Sitar, Tabla, Hammered Dulcimer, Sanza, Timpani, Voice
**
Disc 1:
01. Like That Of Sky 11:08
02. Codona 6:14
03. Colemanwonder: Race Face, Sortie, Sir Duke 3:40
04. Mumakata 8:14
05. New Light 13:23

Disc 2:
01. Que Faser 7:08
02. Godumaduma 1:54
03. Malinye 12:40
04. Drip-Dry 6:59
05. Walking On Eggs 3:00
06. Again And Again, Again 7:32

Disc 3:
01. Goshakabuchi 10:54
02. Hey Da Ba Doom 7:12
03. Travel By Night 5:47
04. Lullaby 3:32
05. Trayra Boia 5:18
06. Clicky Clacky 4:07
07. Inner Organs 9:18
**

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Don CHERRY – Organic Music Society 1972

Posted in Don CHERRY, JAZZ on November 16, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Don CHERRY – Organic Music Society 1972
RIKS LP 44

Jazz

The utopian dreams of the Sixties quickly evaporated in the United States. Chicago 68, Altamont, Nixon, Kent State, et cetera. But the awakened possibilities of free love and higher consciousness lingered longer in Europe. As the Seventies rolled on, Scandinavian countries still offered significant pockets where experiments in communal living and unfettered exploration thrived.

Ornette trumpeter, Sonny Rollins sideman, Blue Note bandleader and world traveler Don Cherry was already hip to it. He had been spending time in Scandinavia since the mid-60s, so it’s little surprise he chose to make Sweden his home base during the early Seventies. He and Swedish artist Moki Karlsson set up house in an old school in Skane.

This period represents a great, woolly leap forward for Don Cherry. Almost casually, he invents a genuine third (or would it be the fourth?) way in jazz. He still plays trumpet, and adds singing, piano, various flutes, and a wide array of traditional percussion instruments to his musical arsenal. He fuses his jazz chops and improvisation background with keen interests in native musics from around the globe. Musical associates, friends, neighbors, and their children drop into Cherry and Moki’s home at all hours for impromptu jam sessions. Any are welcome to join in. It’s all part of a larger synthesis.

The recordings that make up Organic Music are akin to a vibrant scrapbook. They’re vivid snapshots and field recordings from this fecund time in Cherry’s life. You get Brazilian chants with neighbors recorded at 6 am, loose sessions captured in a large tent, far-flung cover versions, and even an embryonic version of Relativity Suite. Later albums will showcase these ideas blooming full flower in more polished settings. But Organic Music places us in the gentle meadow of ground zero of these ideas. The world-jazz hybrid unfolds before our very ears.

The first two selections come from the so-called Dome Sessions. As part of a 1971 “Utopia and Visions” exhibition, a large tent-like Buckminster Fuller dome was erected in the garden behind the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm. Moki tricked it out with her textiles. Don convened family, friends, professional, and amateur musicians to play long sessions for over a week. A slightly more formalized version of what had already been happening at his home. Goran Freese arrived for several days with a tape recorder, capturing some of these remarkable performances.

Pharoah Sanders’ “The Creator Has A Master Plan” was something of a counterculture hit in the late 60s, so it’s a natural for Cherry and his ensemble to cover, a tune everyone probably knew pretty well. But instead of Pharoah’s sprawling 20-minute version, Cherry and Co. distill the tune to six minutes, conjuring its glorious essence. A sort of radio edit. For those who lacked the patience to sit through the original, it’s a wonderful introduction to this classic soul-free-jazz composition.

“Utopia & Visions” is cut from a similar cloth, but the mood is decidedly more mellow. Its pastoral ambiance and sunkissed groove fit the ideal of the title, the genial good vibes presumably created by the experience. It’s contemplative and uplifting without becoming musically soft-headed or faux naive. Nice.

“Bra Joe” is a Dollar Brand composition, named for Brand’s former bandmate (and self-proclaimed mentor) Kiepie Moeketsi. It was recorded during Cherry’s tenure as teacher at a youth music camp during the summer of 1971. The 50 teenage musicians mainly devoted themselves to classical European music and Cherry’s unorthodox music and teaching methods initially freaked them. But the students eventually warmed to his approach and play the hell out of “Bra Joe,” their rag-tag approach sometimes lacking precision but exuding passion. Exactly what Cherry wanted. Dig the way his trumpet soars against the strings.
**
Despite its emergence there in the early sixties, the ‘free-jazz’ movement garnered a limited and very temporary acceptance in America. Following Coltrane’s death, many exponents of free-jazz sought refuge in the (mostly) welcoming arms of other musical styles (to the utter horror of the purist jazz-critics, and true delight of REAL music fans everywhere). Some merged the freedom of jazz with the rhythmic strictures of funk, for example, (Miles, obviously, but also Ornette Coleman’s out-there ‘free-funk’ project, Prime Time). Yet others would take their searches further afield, finding a welcome audience for this most experimental of musical forms, especially in Europe (Manfred Eicher’s ECM Records, for example). This literal movement east-wards was further compounded by a similar psycho-spiritual, inherently mystical movement towards non-western philosophies and cultures: a movement articulated, particularly, through the musical styles and techniques of various third-world countries.
By Julian Cope.
**
Trumpet, Piano, Harmonium, Vocals- Don Cherry
Flute- Tommy Goldman , Tommy Koverhult
Guitar [Doussn’gouni]  Chris Bothen*
Sarangi- Hans Isgren
Tambura, Vocals- Helen Eggert , Moki Cherry
Trumpet [Muted]- Maffy Falay
Percussion, Trumpet- H’suan
Drums, Percussion- Bengt Berger
Berimbau, Percussion- Nana Vasconcelos
Bass- Tage Siven
Drums- Okay Temiz
Written-By:
D. Cherry* (tracks: A2a, B1, B2, C2, C4, D1, D3) ,
Hans Isgren (tracks: A2b) ,
N. Vasconcelos* (tracks: A1)
**
A1. North Brazilian Ceremonial Hym   12:20
A2.
a)  Elixir   6:00
b)  Manusha Raga Kamboji   2:15
B1. Relativity Suite Part One   6:45
B2. Relativity Part Two   11:55
C1.
a). Terry’s Tune   2:00
b). Hope   10:00
c). The Creator Has a Master Plan   6:35
d). Sidharta   1:55
D1. Utopia & Visions   6:30
D2.
a). Bra Joe From Kilimanjaro   2:30
b). Terry’s Tune   5:10
D3. Resa   5:40
**

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