Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Don Cherry Live During A Peak Period, Montmartre

Originally posted on August 20, 2008

When the late trumpet player, avant jazz leader and conceptualist Don Cherry brought his current quintet into the famed European Jazz club Café Montmartre in 1966, he was in many ways at the peak of his powers. Leaving his mentor Ornette Coleman towards the beginning of the decade, he co-lead a number of groups.

By ’66 he had established a definitive group identity with an international coterie of avant players of the first rank. Notably on board were tenorist Gato Barbieri and vibesman Karl Berger, both unique voices and masters of inventive improvisation. A radio broadcast captured the band in great form on Live at Club Montmartre (ESP). The entire set of tapes eventually surfaced in three separate volumes and have now been reissued. Today we look at Volume Two.

The sound is good, the players energized. This is avant music with a large component of sheer JOY. Great compositions, a few oddities (like a version of “Taste of Honey”), and the kind of inspired moments you can get at a live club date—it’s all there. Very good music indeed!

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