Don Cherry

Organic Music Society

BY Kerry DoolePublished May 22, 2012

Late great American jazz trumpeter/cornetist/composer Don Cherry (not to be confused with his obnoxiously boorish Canadian namesake) was living in Scandinavia when he recorded this album back in 1971 and '72. It has never appeared on CD until now, and it's also being reissued as a double vinyl album. It's a fascinating musical document that, at times, sounds dated, but at other times still is very fresh and relevant. Things do not begin promisingly, as opening track "North Brazilian Ceremonial Hymn" is one of those banal hippie dirges/chants best left buried in the '60s. Thankfully, things improve greatly after that, beginning with vibrant original "Elixir." Organic Music Society isn't an album for those craving stylistic consistency, travelling all over the musical map. That's not surprising from Cherry though, a relentlessly adventurous artist who did a great deal to bring world music elements into jazz. Through the '70s, he explored Indian, African and Middle Eastern music, and that's audible here. The album was recorded primarily with Scandinavian musicians, though Brazilian percussion star Nana Vasconcelos makes an appearance. Cherry contributes on piano, harmonium and flute, as well as trumpet, and his openhearted vocals also grace a number of tunes. Versions of compositions by Terry Riley, Dollar Brand and Pharoah Sanders (the classic "The Creator Has A Masterplan") are featured alongside Cherry originals, with the raucous free-jazz playing on Riley's "Terry's Tune" a highlight. Definitely worthy of investigation.

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