Thursday, June 16, 2011

Some DON CHERRY to peruse. Those averse to my "jazz" postings are well advised to hit the snooze button. I've written about the great man before - here, here and here. Hell, I'm sure I've written about the guy more extensively somewhere in these pages, but for the life of me I can't find the links. Everything the guy put to tape during the years 1961 - 1982 is worth your time and trouble: starting off w/ The Avant-Garde, recorded w/ John Coltrane; through to his Blue Note recordings; the Penderecki collaboration; his BYG magnum opus' (opi?) - notably Blue Lake and Orient, the latter of which is a Top 10 Desert Isle Disc for moi - the incredible Brown Rice on A & M from 1975, the sonic missing link twixt Can and '70s Miles; his ECM recordings w/ a trio under the Codona moniker; and lastly, his 1982 recording w/ percussionist Ed Blackwell. There's one complete turkey in there, 1976's Here & Now, a mersh, fusionoid headache of a record which was made for bucks c/o record-label money-danglers, but everything else should be residing in your premises. Along w/ Pharoah Sanders, Sun Ra, Miles and Alice Coltrane, for my two cents he was one of the jazz astro-travellers, one who took the music to a new stratosphere and rarely came back. Cherry's music was more earth-bound than someone like 'Ra's - it was in the sub-continental vicinity for roughly the last 25 years of his life - though his blending of jazz, psychedelia and Third World sounds is like no other. The Multikulti clip is particularly interesting, since not only does it feature the awesome percussion of man-of-a-thousand-instruments, Hamid Drake, in the mix, but it was quite obviously recorded post-1982. I only say this because Cherry's music from the mid '80s onwards was sometimes derided as New Age/One World mush which lost its edge, but the zoned-out bliss he achieves w/ this crew has me thinking otherwise. Cherry passed on in 1995, and his back catalogue still remains a bit of a mess in regards to what's available and what's not. A friend of mine was in touch w/ the family trust a number of years ago, attempting to obtain the rights to some of his recordings, to no avail. Most of the grey area/non-major material remains in print in some sort of semi-legit fashion, though a few are still out of reach. If someone can procure me a copy of 1973's Organic Music Society w/out me having to fork out stupid sums of cash, then I'll be their friend for life. I'm only a collector of bad memories, so I couldn't care less for original pressings and what they're worth, and much less am I a vinyl purist. I've even bugged various reissue labels over the years whom I'm in regular contact w/ through work about getting such gems back in the marketplace, but so far it's been a brick wall. Eh... Check 'em out. To quote what a famous musician once said about somone else who is completely unrelated (bear with me here): his music heals the fuck out of me.

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