June 17, 2024


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CD review: Don Cherry – Cherry Jam 2021: Video, CD cover

After having released Don Cherry’s Cherry Jam as a limited Record Store Day title in the Autumn of 2020, Gearbox presents this essential release on specialist Japanese Edition vinyl and CD as well as digitally.

‘Cherry Jam’ sets the scene in 60s Copenhagen, a city which at the time proved instrumental in the hosting and development of jazz musicians both local and American. Cherry had performed and recorded there with Archie Shepp in 1963, toured with Albert Ayler in the autumn of 1964, and would go on to have a residency at the hip Cafe Montmartre in 1966.

Our recording is taken from the original tape of a 1965 radio broadcast, programmed by Denmark’s national radio station (Danmarks Radio.) It was in this same year that Cherry
 would record his landmark Blue Note recording, ‘Complete Communion’, with Leandro ‘Gato’ Barbieri on tenor saxophone, Henry Grimes on double bass, and Edward Blackwell on drums, as well as feature on fellow American expatriate George Russell’s live album ‘George Russell Sextet at Beethoven Hall’. This particular line-up however, consisting of Danish musicians, has never been heard after its original broadcast date, and neither have the three original Don Cherry compositions that are featured on the recording credits.

These four pieces show Don Cherry in the midst of his transformation from pivotal sideman in New York’s avant-garde jazz scene to leader of his own groups and world traveller. His endless curiosity, free-thinking openness to different cultures, and rejection of musical boundaries paved the way for future creators in jazz, world music, and beyond.

  1. The Ambassador from Greenland (05:32)
  2. You Took Advantage of Me (05:15)
  3. Priceless (06:47)
  4. Nigeria (04:48)

Don Cherry – cornet
Mogens Bollerup – tenor saxophone
Atli Bjørn – piano
Benny Nielsen – bass
Simon Koppel – drums

Don Cherry - Cherry Jam - CD – Rough Trade

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