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Don Cherry: Live In Stockholm

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It would be a few more years before Don Cherry would start playing his version of world music wholeheartedly, but elements of the trumpeter’s all-encompassing vision can be heard on these live recordings, most of them from 1968. This album marks their first official release, after he shelved them in favor of the more eclectic Organic Music Society.

Cherry had relocated to Sweden a few years earlier and begun performing with a group that included Turkish trumpeter Maffy Falay and saxophonists Bernt Rosengren and Tommy Koverhult. Like his Blue Note albums and subsequent quintet performances in Copenhagen (released on ESP-Disk’), the trumpeter still favored continuous performances that blended composition and improvisation into suites lasting between 20 and 25 minutes. Live in Stockholm features two extended tracks recorded at Stockholm’s ABF House (which translates to the Workers’ Educational Association), where free improvisation had a receptive audience. The six-piece group maneuvers its way through a series of themes that includes at least one Ornette Coleman head and Turkish melodies courtesy of Falay. “ABF Suite Part 1” is the more focused of the two performances, if only because “Part 2” includes a lengthy section in which a sea of flutes wail slightly off-mic. Nonetheless, the inspiration never wanes.

“Another Dome Session” is more exotic but rambles. Recorded in 1971 in an installation outside of Stockholm’s Museum of Modern Art, much of the 28-minute track finds Cherry at the piano, singing along with single-note melodies and riffing behind haunting flute lines. Sounding more like a casual jam session (or drum circle, initially), it eventually gathers energy and points toward Cherry’s future.

Originally Published