Personalities | Don Cherry | Sixties | Jazz & Blues
Besides serving as the perfect complement for Ornette Coleman in the saxophonist’s early quartet, cornettist Don Cherry was a pioneer of the now-popular ‘world music’ movement. His musician father brought the family to Los Angeles from Cherry’s birthplace in Oklahoma, where Cherry played in the Jazz Messiahs before meeting Coleman. After leaving the Coleman group and moving to New York, Cherry co-led the New York Contemporary Five with Archie Shepp and then earned a recording contract with Blue Note, resulting in the classic albums Complete Communion (1965) and Symphony for Improvisers (1966).
In 1968 he gathered artists from Europe and America, performing music inspired by the Balinese gamelan and Middle Eastern sounds. Eternal Rhythm, recorded that year, is a fine early document of his jazz-world music fusions. Cherry continued to investigate sounds inside and outside jazz, working with Turkish musicians, the cross-cultural trio Codona, more mainstream jazz groups, a Coleman repertory quartet called Old and New Dreams, and Coleman himself on occasion. He is the father of pop singers Neneh and Eagle Eye Cherry.
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