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June 2000

Don Cherry
Complete Communion
Blue Note Records

In the late '50s and early '60s, Don Cherry was largely defined by his associations with Ornette Coleman and Sonny Rollins. Complete Communion began to permanently change that. With this album and its follow-up, Symphony for Improvisers, Cherry articulated an avant positivism that still has many esteemed adherents. While the buoyant, often folkish themes of these two LP sidelong suites are decidedly user-friendly compared to much of what was happening in 1965-Coltrane's Ascension; Ornette's Chappaqua Suite; Ayler's Bells-this is adventurous music even by today's standards. The interplay between Cherry, who plays cornet on the date, Leandro "Gato" Barbieri, Henry Grimes and Edward Blackwell is beguiling, as it pushes the envelope with an effortless flow instead of a relentless intensity.

Originally published in June 2000
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