Sun 1 Jan 2012
The first jazz musician I am writing about in 2012 is Don Cherry. Mezzo TV showed in the last few weeks a video of him made in Paris in the 70s and a recorded concert from 1991, drawing my attention on a personality who left his imprint on the history of free jazz and world music.
Cherry was born in Oklahoma City, and much of his paying career is associated with the cornet and especially the pocket trumpet – with the latest he permanently experimented with different shapes of the instrument and sounds.
Since his early 20s he was associated with Ornette Coleman, a collaboration that continued with ons and offs for several decades. Here is a recording of Ramblin from Coleman’s album Change of the Century recorded in 1959 and released in 1960, with Cherry part of Coleman’s ensemble.
In the early 60s he worked with many well known musicians mostly associated with the free jazz movement, among them John Coltrane, Archie Shepp and Albert Ayler. Here he is with Sonny Rollins, Henry Grimes and Billy Higgins playing ’52nd Street Theme Live’ for the Italian TV.
Starting with the 70s he started to experiment in world music and fusion. From this period I found an interview and several songs recorded in 1976, again for the Italian TV
The film I saw on Mezzo was from 1991, when Cherry played in Stuttgart, several of his songs belonging to the CD Multikulti released two years earlier. Here is Peter Apfelbaum’s ‘Until The Rain Comes’ which was the song that opened the concert that I saw (or at least the part that was on the film)
live performance with Herbie Hancock filmed around 1986 in New Orleans