Don Cherry

Don Cherry :: It Is Not My Music (Swedish TV Documentary, 1978)

As a followup to last year’s phenomenal Don Cherry archival releases and book via Blank Forms. Det Är Inte Men Music (It Is Not My Music), a remarkable 1978 doc on the musician made by Swedish filmmaker Urban Lasson. Over the course of about an hour, we follow Don, his partner Moki and their kids from the pastoral Swedish countryside to the decidedly un-pastoral urban landscape of late-seventies NYC. No matter where he goes, Cherry’s inquisitive, imaginative spirit is an inspiration (even if he was struggling with a heroin addiction at the time). Lasson’s footage is frequently astonishing, whether it’s Cherry communing with birds in the forest or making beautiful music on a stoop in Harlem. Best of all is an extended sequence featuring Don, drummer Rashied Ali and guitarist James “Blood” Ulmer at Ali’s Alley — a trio for the ages, following the sound wherever it takes them. | t wilcox.
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Albert Ayler Quartet with Don Cherry: European Recordings Autumn 1964 Revisited

Many attempts have been made to locate the source of tenor saxophonist Albert Ayler's muse in American history and culture. Among the less outlandish suggestions are the field hollers of slaves toiling on Southern plantations and the Pentecostal church's tradition of talking in tongues. Given the importance Ayler's parents placed on him attending church as a child, and his own abiding interest in spiritual matters, talking in tongues could well figure. The most likely source, however, yet the one most often overlooked, lay inside Ayler's head and heart: his style was his own creation, his own gift to the world.
The Quietus

The Strange World Of… Don Cherry

From pocket trumpet to donso ngoni, sharp suits and jazz clubs to communal utopias, Jennifer Lucy Allan immerses herself in the world of the American trumpet player and composer. Organic Music Theatre in Warsaw, ca 1973, courtesy of the Cherry Archive/ the estate of Moki Cherry. Ornette Coleman said Don...

Don Cherry on the Maple Leafs: Matthews is GREAT, After that? Crapshoot

Don Cherry “Grapes” makes me look young! He’s now – believe it or not – 87 years old. It’s been almost two years since he was fired by Rogers for his comment about immigrants to Canada – “You People” as he called them when he scolded them with his belief that they ought to wear poppies on Remembrance Day.
Washington Post

Don Cherry is a deserving giant of jazz. Now his wife, Moki, gets her due as his visionary collaborator.

A previous version of this story labeled Ornette Coleman as a tenor saxophonist. He was best known for playing alto saxophone. This has been corrected. When you visualize jazz, a certain image springs to mind: The dapper postwar musician in a darkened basement club, cigarette smoke curling around them, all of it captured in crisp black and white. Vivid as that image is, it was soon obsolete, roiled as jazz underwent seismic change in the 1960s thanks to artists like John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor and Miles Davis. But no one revolutionized that American art form like alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman. With his legendary quartet of bassist Charlie Haden, drummer Ed Blackwell and trumpeter Don Cherry, they freed music from prescribed harmonies, rhythms and chord changes, revealing a true democracy to the music.

Don Cherry in Copenhagen, 1965

Throughout his career, Don Cherry favored the stubby but warm pocket cornet and was most closely identified with the free jazz and avant-garde jazz movements. In the late 1950s, he recorded with Ornette Coleman (Something Else!!!, Tomorrow Is the Question!, The Shape of Jazz to Come, Change of the Century, This Is Our Music), Paul Bley (The Fabulous Paul Bley Quintet) and John Coltrane (The Avant-Garde). In the '60s, he recorded additional albums with Coleman as well as with Steve Lacy and on the road with Sonny Rollins before leading his own recording sessions in 1963. Then he formed the New York Contemporary Five.

Don Cherry – ‘Cherry Jam’

(Gearbox Records. GB1559OBI (LP)/ GB1559CDOBI (CD). Album review by Olie Brice) By 1965, Don Cherry had been part of some of the most revolutionary jazz ever played, central to the very beginnings of free jazz with Ornette Coleman as well as collaborations with other giants of the music including Albert Ayler, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Steve Lacy and the New York Contemporary Five.

Take Five: An Unearthed Gem from Don Cherry, and an Anthem by Charles Lloyd & the Marvels

Along with new music by Natural Information Society, Cowboys & Frenchmen, and Michael Dease. For admirers of trumpeter Don Cherry, 1965 is a year synonymous with some landmark recordings: it saw the release of New York Eye and Ear Control, which he’d made with a collective spearheaded by Albert Ayler, and the recording of Complete Communion, his own debut for Blue Note, featuring peers like Gato Barbieri.