JJ 01/74: Don Cherry – Organic Music Society

Fifty years ago, before the biz coined 'world music', Barry McRae noted Cherry's 'beautiful' new record had almost nothing to do with jazz. First published in Jazz Journal January 1974


This very beautiful issue is not a jazz record. In fact, Cherry’s references to his own jazz tradition are made only rarely. Far more than Haden’s Libera­tion Orchestra, this anthology of Cherry’s musical expression in Europe during 1971 and 1972 is truly interna­tional. He plays Chinese ceramic flute on Elixir in a way that makes no refer­ence to jazz phraseology. There is a moving sarangi solo by Isgren on the Manusha Raga that is very Indian. The Ceremonial Hymn is a hypnotic repeti­tion of a moving Brazilian folk tune, while the Relativity Suite is a recitation in which Cherry asks rhetorical ques­tions in outlining his attitude to life.

The ‘dome sessions’ took place in a specially constructed tent as part of an exhibition called Utopia and Visions that was held in the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm. A tape recorder cap­tured most of the happenings and musicians came and went as they liked. The actors and musicians’ action group that work occasionally in London parks have a similar idea and it is very pro­ductive. Outstanding contributions here come from Cherry’s piano and brilliant trumpet, Goldman’s and Koverhult’s flute, Temiz’s sensitive drums and Falay’s muted trumpet (heard superbly in obbligato on Masterplan).

The last three titles grew from Cherry’s work at music camps, when his unorthodox teaching methods led young musicians into new areas of in­vestigation. The resulting music is un­even but very appealing and Cherry’s more extended jazz trumpet moments make it quite exciting. The whole record champions musical empiricism and, al­though untidy in places, will appeal to the broadminded.

(a) North Brazlian Ceremonial Hymn; (b) Elixir; (c) Manusha Raga Kamboji (20½ min) – (b) The Relativity Suite (18¾ min) – (d) Terry’s Tune; (d) Hope; (d) The Creator Has A Master Plan; (d) Sidhartha (20½ min) – (d) Utopia And Visions; (e) Bra Joe From Kilimanjaro; (e) Terry’s Tune; (f) Resa (20 min)
(a) Don Cherry (vcl/perc): Nana Vasconcelos (vcl/ berimbau); Moki (vcl/tamb); Helen Eggert (vcl/ tamb); Steen Claesson, Roger Burk (vcl); Marianne and Anana Rydvall, Lil and Nlkko Stalheim, Mona Barbara, Ole Sophus Amfred (voices). Copenhagen 28/7/72.
(b) Don Cherry (tpt/vcl/harm/flt/conch/h’suan/perc); Chrlster Bothen (duoss n’gouni/gnaua-gtr/pno): Bengt Berger (mridanga/log-dm/dm). Stockholm 14/8/72).
(c) Hans Isgren (sarangi). Stockholm 14/8/72.
(d) Dome Session – Don Cherry (tpt/pno/voices): Maffy Falay (tpt); Tommy Goldman, Tommy Koverhult (flt): Tagesiven (bs); Okay Temiz (dm); plus visitors and friends. Stockholm 4/7/71.
(e) Don Cherry (tpt/pno); Okay Temiz (dm): Youth Orchestra. Bolinas 23/6/71.
(f) Don Cherry (voice/harm); Bengt Berger (tabla/ moki-tamb); Elementary School Teachers. Sweden 3/8/72.
(Caprice Riks LP 44.50 Import)