Don Cherry: Cherry Jam


This 22-minute vinyl LP was a good candidate for Record Store Day which has now, for obvious reasons, been postponed until 20 June.

Even if my wife thought I was changing the habits of a lifetime and seeking a recipe for cherry jam when the title appeared in an email to me, the music came as something of a surprise.

Cherry is on top form throughout the limited time scale and had surrounded himself with a top-notch front line partner and rhythm section. The Ambassador track which starts us off is a scorcher with Cherry and tenor man Bollerup playing a heady mix of bop and free style and the rhythm section playing up a storm behind them.

Pianist Bjorn has a fine command of his instrument and appears to have absorbed much from Cecil Taylor in his keyboard lines throughout this set.

The approach to the standard You Took Advantage is novel, with Cherry, tightly muted, beginning with a melody from the middle eight and then turning it over to his tenor player who plays the main theme in a rich, rhapsodic manner.

Cherry was an ideal foil for Ornette in the classic quartet in the late 50s, but Coleman’s intense solos often left him with little to say in response. This welcome release shows him at his inventive best in the free style music he was playing currently.

Danish Radio produced a bright, clean recording and Gearbox have enhanced this with some of their magical mastering at 45rpm. Three of the tracks are previously unheard Cherry compositions and all the music is made available on this 12” EP for the first time. This is a limited edition so may not be available for long.

The Ambassador From Greenland; You Took Advantage Of Me; Priceless; Nigeria (22.19)
Cherry (c); Mogens Bollerup (ts); Atli Bjorn (p); Benny Nielsen (b); Simon Koppel (d). Copenhagen, October 1965.
Gearbox 1559 RSD