Reviews that mention Don Cherry

November 21, 2020

European Echoes: Jazz Experimentation in Germany 1950-1975

By Harald Kisedu
Wolke Verlage

By Ken Waxman

Like many other countries in the Western world, Germany developed its variant of improvised music after records by Free Jazz pioneers such as Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor and Albrt Ayler became generally available. But the response by committed sound explorers to these sounds created by mostly African-American musicians was more diffuse than in other places. Not only were progressive German musicians confronted with a novel mutation of the Jazz they had followed for many years, but they also had to deal with it alongside specific extra-musical matters. MORE

May 9, 2020

Albert Ayler Quartets 1964

Spirits to Ghosts Revisited
ezz-thetics 1101

Sun Ra

Heliocentric Worlds1 & 2 Revisited

Ezz-thetics 1103

Baroque Jazz Trio

Baroque Jazz Trio + Orientasie/Largo

SouffleContinue Records CD fl0 56

Sam Rivers Quintet


NoBusiness Records NBCD 124

Willem Breuker & Han Bennink

New Acoustic Swing Duo

Corbett vs Dempsey CD 0066

Something in the Air: Reissues Keep Genre-Defining Sessions in Circulation

August 29, 2017

Albert Mangelsdorff

And His Friends
MPS Records 0211961MSW

Rüdiger Carl Inc.

King Alcohol (New Version)

Corbett vs. Dempsey CvsD CD 032

Only about 2½ years separate the improvisations on these reissued CDs from one another. But like examining Russian society just before and shortly after the 1917 Soviet revolution, the contours of two distinct musical cultures are in play.

When the six duets that make up And His Friends was recorded in 1968-1969, Albert Mangelsdorff (born 1928) was probably the best known German trombonist, if not the best-known German Jazz musicians, of his time. Having mastered modern Jazz with his famous quintet of the 1960s, by late in that decade the Frankfurt-born player was investigating multiphonic solo playing, worked with the Globe Unity Orchestra and within a couple of years would record extensively with the likes of tenor saxophonist Peter Brötzmann, pianist Fred van Hove and drummer Han Bennink. MORE

February 18, 2017

NPR’s 11th Annual

Jazz Critics Poll Ballot

•Your name and primary affiliation(s)

Ken Waxman: The New York City Jazz Record; Whole Note

•Your choices for this year’s 10 best New Releases listed in descending order

1. Alexander Hawkins Trio Alexander Hawkins Music AH 1001

2. Anna Webber’s Simple Trio Binary Skirl Records 033

3. Michael Formanek Ensemble Kolossus The Distance ECM 2484

4. Artifacts Reed-Reid-Mitchell 482 Music 482-1093

5. Umlaut Big Band Euro Swing Vol. 2 Umlaut UMFR-CD18 MORE

February 11, 2016

Paul Bley

A Modern Jazz Piano Master
By Ken Waxman

Paul Bley who died at 83 in early January was probably never bothered that he was usually described as Canada’s second best-known jazz pianist; Oscar Peterson was the first. But Bley, who shared a Montreal birth with Peterson, and who similarly was honored with induction into the Order of Canada in 2008 – albeit 30 plus years after Peterson – was for all intents and purposes a much more radical pianist than O.P. Peterson, seven years Bley’s senior, was a flamboyant stylist who adapted Art Tatum’s all-encompassing swing era techniques to the structure of modern jazz during an almost incalculable number of performances from the late 1940s until his death in 2007. However Bley, represented on more than 100 discs during his career, cycled through a variety of keyboard strategies from the outgoing to the cerebral, eventually matching the atonality of off-centre techniques with straightforward, melodically measured motion. He was also one of the first serious improvisers to deal with the sonic possibilities that could be extracted from the then brand-new portable Moog synthesizer. Later, such better-known pianists as Keith Jarrett, The Bad Plus’ Ethan Iverson and Satoko Fujii developed their playing following the examples of Bley’s breakthroughs. MORE

December 15, 2012

Pharoah Sanders

In the Beginning 1963-64
ESP-Disk ESP-4069

Pierre Favre

Drums and Dreams

Intakt CD 197

Connie Crothers - David Arner

Spontaneous Suite for Two Pianos

Rogueart R0G-037

Various Artists

Echtzeitmusik Berlin

Mikroton CD 14/15/16

Something In The Air: Multiple Disc Sets for the Adventurous

By Ken Waxman

Defying doomsayers who predicted the death of the LP, the CD’s disappearance appears oversold. True music collectors prefer the physical presence and superior fidelity of a well-designd CD package and important material continues to released. Partisans of advanced music, for instance, can choose any one of these sets. The only saxophonist to be part of saxophonist John Coltrane’s working group, tenorist Pharoah Sanders is celebrated for his own highly rhythmic Energy Music. In the Beginning 1963-64 ESP-Disk ESP-4069, a four CD-package highlight his steady growth. Besides Sanders’ first album as leader, very much in the freebop tradition, as part of quintet of now obscure players, the other previously released sounds capture Sanders’ recordings in the Sun Ra Arkestra. More valuable is a CD of unissued tracks where Sanders asserts himself in quartets led by cornetist Don Cherry or Canadian pianist Paul Bley. The set is completed by short interviews with all of the leaders. Oddly enough, although they precede his solo debut, Sanders’ playing is most impressive with Bley and Cherry. With more of a regularized beat via bassist David Izenson and drummer J.C. Moses, Cherry’s tracks advance melody juxtaposition and parallel improvisations with Sanders’ harsh obbligato contrasted with the cornetist’s feisty flourishes; plus the darting lines and quick jabs of pianist Joe Scianni provides an unheralded pleasure. Bley’s economical comping and discursive patterning lead the saxophonist into solos filled with harsh tongue-twisting lines and jagged interval leaps. With Izenson’s screeching assent and drummer Paul Motion’s press rolls the quartet plays super fast without losing the melodic thread. Sun Ra is a different matter. Recorded in concert, the sets include helpings of space chants such as “Rocket #9” and “Next Stop Mars”; a feature for Black Harold’s talking log drums; showcases for blaring trombones, growling trumpets; plus the leader’s propulsive half-down-home and half-outer-space keyboard. Sharing honking and double-tonguing interludes with Arkestra saxists Pat Patrick and Marshall Allen, Sanders exhibits his characteristic stridency. Enjoyable for Sun Ra’s vision which is spectacular and jocular, these tracks suggest why the taciturn Sanders soon went on his own. MORE

December 19, 2010

Archie Shepp

The New York Contemporary Five
Delmark DE 409

New York Art Quartet

Old Stuff: October 1965

Cuneiform Records RUNE 300

Back in the turbulent days of the early 1960s when the New Thing was really new, North American gigs for the pioneers of Free Jazz were at the same premium that they are for advanced players today. That’s when the wholesale exodus to work in Europe for longer or shorter stays began. These prime slices of birthing Energy Music capture two acclaimed, ostensible New York bands, performing to wider acclaim in Copenhagen. MORE

December 1, 2007

Don Cherry

Live at Café Montmartre 1966
ESP-Disk 4032

Transferred to CD from a vintage Danish radio broadcast, this impressive live disc features American trumpeter Don Cherry leading an international quintet through a set of originals and free improvisations.

One notable sidelight is, how barely six years after the breakthrough New York gigs of Ornette Coleman’s quartet with the trumpeter, Cherry was able to forge a quintet of non-Americans – German vibist Karl Berger, Argentinean tenor saxophonist Gato Barbieri, Italian drummer Aldo Romano and Danish bassist Bo Stief – into a unified combo fully conversant with his new musical language. MORE

March 7, 2005


Sweet Space/Untitled Gift
8th Harmonic Breakdown HB 8005/6

Fusion of two Billy Bang LPs originally issued on the Anima label plus four previously unreleased tracks, this two-CD set proves once again that a lot of excellent, advanced music was being made out of the media spotlight in the late 1970s/early 1980s.

While the focus then may have been on the discredited jazz-rock movement and emerging Young Lions, Free Jazz/Loft Movement veterans like Bang and crew were obstinately cutting out-of-the-ordinary sessions that, like Julius Hemphill and David Murray’s records of the time, contained basic swing roots fused with atonal solos. MORE

January 26, 2004


The Journey
Downtown Sound DS 1002

First -- and best-known -- of the many expatriate, anti-Apartheid South African jazz musicians -- Duke Ellington sponsored his first LP in 1963 -- Abdullah Ibrahim, then Dollar Brand, gradually adapted a more ethic identity when he became a known quantity in the jazz firmament. As evidence, here’s an LP-length reissue of his 1978 Alice Tully Hall concert. On it he uses both his birth and Muslim names to show his mature music was an mixture of Townships, Arabic, traditional and new jazz influences. MORE

February 17, 2003


The Copenhagen tapes
Ayler aylCD-033

Almost 33 years after his death in New York’s East River, an apparent suicide, the stature of tenor saxophonist Albert Ayler as a major musical force keeps growing. His redefinition of horn playing away from empty technique and towards emotional vulnerability, and his insistence on articulating simple themes that easily became vehicles for improvisation, has been acknowledged by everyone short of the most reactionary jazz neo-con.

Today with indie rock stars looking for street cred and exploratory contemporary classical composers joining jazzers in placing the saxophonist in the pantheon that includes Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane, it seems that his influence is everywhere. Some commentators even call this musical time the Post-Ayler epoch. MORE

April 29, 2001


Savoy/Atlantic 93008-2

Historical documents sometimes give the contemporary listener a new perspective of the past. It's the same with reissues. This thought-provoking disc, divided between a Bill Dixon 7-Tette and Archie Sheep's New York Contemporary 5 (NYC5), show that in many cases the seemingly monolithic New Thing of the mid-1960s was as diverse as its participants. Recorded after the music had announced its broad presence following the Dixon-organized October Revolution concert series and before Shepp became a known quantity with his Impulse Records discs, the session pinpoints the divergent paths of the erstwhile partners.