Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Don Cherry - Live at the Cafe Montmartre, Vol. 2 (ESP, 2008)

After leaving the employ of Ornette Coleman, trumpeter Don Cherry had a brief three album contract with Blue Note Records, during which he combined free-form jazz with his interest in music of different cultures. It was during this period that he toured Europe, and the resulting radio broadcasts were heavily bootlegged before emerging officially on the ESP label. The lineup for this album includes Cherry, Gato Barbieri on tenor saxophone, Karl Berger on vibes, Bo Steif on bass and Aldo Romano on drums. The entire concert was consistently interesting, but I found the two long form performances to be the most revelatory. "Suite for Albert Ayler" brings together a couple of Ayler's folk-like themes as blowing vehicles for Barbieri, who revels in the space, with Cherry along side, making for a powerful front line. "Complete Communion" was a side-long suite that Cherry had recorded for Blue Note, and this complex performance is the culmination of the disc, an extraordinary group effort that never flags even over a twenty minute long performance. Also included here are the standards "Spring is Here" and "Remembrance", which are given free and frequently ferocious readings, and one of Cherry's earliest attempts at world music, Orfeu Negro." I enjoyed this music very much, is was very exciting and adventurous music, played by a band that was well attuned to one another.

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