Don Cherry: The Summer House Sessions (Blank Forms/digital outlets)

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Don Cherry: The Summer House Sessions (Blank Forms/digital outlets)
Trumpeter Don Cherry – step-father of Neneh and father to Eagle Eye – was right there in the avant-garde jazz movement on albums in the Fifties with Ornette Coleman (the presciently titled Something Else!!!, Tomorrow is the Question!, The Shape of Jazz to Come and Free Jazz among them).

He had a long association with Coleman (one of his sons is David Ornette Cherry), and with Old and New Dreams which was Cherry with bassist Charlie Haden, drummer Ed Blackwell and saxophonist Dewey Redman, all Coleman alumni.

And which played in Auckland in 1981. (Thank you Charlie Grey!)

Cherry played with John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Carla Bley, Sun Ra, in Haden's Liberation Orchestra, on Lou Reed's The Bells, on the Bitter Funeral Beer album with Bengt Berger and a large ensemble, with Rip Rig and Panic . . .

He was also a global traveler (in music and literally) who explored African, Middle Eastern and Indian music . . .

All of which is to say he was a majestic figure in improvised music (he died in '95 at just 58) and so any reissue, or in this case previously unreleased material, is always worth tuning in for.

He married the Swedish multi-media artist Monika Karlsson, moved to Sweden and these free flowing, relentlessly rolling but focused jams from '68 were recorded at saxophonist/engineer Goran Freese's summer house outside of Stockholm.

Freese and Cherry pulled together a kind of world music ensemble driven by the drummers Jacques Thollot, Leif Wennerstrom and Bulent Ates.

Also there were Bernt Rosengren (tenor saxophone, flutes, clarinet), Tommy Koverhult (tenor saxophone, flutes), bassists Torbjörn Hultcrantz and Kent Carter with Cherry playing his famous pocket trumpet and flutes as well as joining in on percussion.

The first two pieces are 23 minutes apiece (taking out each side of a record) then there are four other jams.

Because of the international make-up of the ensemble these are sometimes riots of colour and sound which largely set aside solos for energetic parallel interplay.

In that regard they are closer to Bitter Funeral Beer (or a session in a Turkish marketplace) than much of his work with Coleman and OANDreams.

These are limber, energetic and loose (but sometimes claustrophobically enjoyable) and anyone who knows Cherry's work around this period and after will find this quite thrilling.


You can hear and buy this album at bandcamp here

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Gaylene Martin - Aug 18, 2021

Thank you so much for reviewing this album by Don Cherry - I only have a CD of his albums on Blue Note 'Complete Communion and a Rig Rig & Panic vinyl album on which he played - I Am Cold. Loving this Summer House Sessions!

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