Don Cherry – New York Total Music Company 1968



Broadcast from SWR, recorded at 10th Deutsches Jazzfestival Frankfurt, Germany, on March 24, 1968. This is is Cherry at his absolute best, encountering him with a stellar line up comprised of Don Cherry (tpt, cnt, bamboo fl); Steve Lacy (ss); Karl Berger (vb, p); Kent Carter (b); Jacques Thollot (d). This live set captures a pitch perfect image of his roving, restless and ambitious creative mind – an artist pushing into unknown territory, drawing on a diverse number of musical traditions from across the globe, Minimalism, as much Indian Classical and Brazilian traditions, and of course blues and jazz, to create a universal music of human touch.

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To call Cherry a trumpet player is not only misleading but does a great injustice to the musician. While he played the trumpet and cornet and assorted flutes, he was adept at the piano and even experimented with electronics. So it was not a great surprise to find Cherry performing a free jazz-ish set with Steve Lacy at the Deutsches Jazzfestival in Frankfurt in March 1968 and then record the world-fusion Eternal Rhythm in November (with Albert Mangelsdorff and Sonny Sharrock among others).

In an interview, Cherry said: “The form of jazz where you had the composition, then the sax solo, trumpet solo, piano solo, drum solo, then trade fours – that concept doesn’t open up for surprises. And surprise is, to me, one of the most important things in life, for inspiration. I would write compositions so I could change those compositions. Or I’d have one artist solo in one piece and out of that piece we’d go to another, maybe never going back to what we started with.”