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New York Jazz Collective: I Don’t Know This World Without Don Cherry

This is a composer-based date by a fairly diverse cooperative, under the New York Jazz Collective rubric produced by the pianist, New Zealander Mike Nock. The frontline is very ably manned by Marty Ehrlich on clarinets, flute and alto sax; Baikida Carroll on trumpet and fluegelhorn; Frank Lacy on trombone; bassist Michael Formanek; alternating drummers Pheeroan ak Laff and Steve Johns and Nock. Though the clever title might lead one to believe this is a Don Cherry tribute, it merely refers to the opening piece, a keen bit of business from Ehrlich’s very able pen that is keyed by ak Laff’s shades of Ed Blackwell, which is where the strongest echoes of the Ornette/Cherry sound is felt, in addition to Ehrlich’s theme.

This is a recording to which one must return repeatedly, though the music is not overly difficult or even cutting edge to all but virgin ears; reason being the original nature of the compositions. In addition to Ehrlich’s title track, the most irresistible piece is Nock’s “New Morning Of The Dream,” with its heraldic opening horn section cadenza and bittersweet minor key colorations. Nock also scores with the following track, “Indifference,” another of four contributions from the producer and nominal leader of the date. Carroll wrote two of the pieces, including one dedicated to Nock, and Formanek wrote the topical “El Nino.”

Originally Published