Don Cherry, Organic Music Society

Steve Holtje

By Steve Holtje

on 08.02.12 in Reviews
Highly recommended to fans of multi-cultural music

This is the first official digital release of a storied double LP that often roams as far away from jazz as this pivotal figure in the ’60s avant-garde dared on record. Having moved to Europe in the mid ’60s and traveled around the world, Cherry began incorporating world music into his style, but at first, he was the only player on his albums to do so. After settling in Sweden, he and his wife, Moki (their daughter is Neneh Cherry) created a musical commune where Cherry taught his iconoclastic approach and made these 1971-72 recordings with a variety of musicians, little known aside from Brazil’s versatile Nana Vasconcelos and talented Turkish drummer Okay Temiz. Cherry plays pocket trumpet, percussion, harmonium, flute, conch, piano and xun (Chinese clay vessel flute), and often sings. There are just a few minutes of jazz on the first half of the album. “North Brazilian Ceremonial Hymn” opens it hauntingly with 12-plus minutes of a slow, wordless vocal embroidered with percussion and a light drone, signaling that this won’t be like Cherry’s American recordings. On “Relativity Suite, parts 1 & 2,” he sings and speaks the OMS’s philosophy over quietly thrumming patterns. Things get jazzier on the second half, including versions of Pharoah Sanders’s “The Creator Has a Master Plan” and Abdullah Ibrahim’s “Bra Joe from Kilimanjaro.” Best is the beautiful modal song “Hope,” one of Cherry’s most memorable melodies, which reappears a few tracks later on “Utopia & Visions.” Highly recommended to fans of multi-cultural music.