Don Cherry: Remembrance
Don Cherry (trumpet)
Live At Café Montmartre 1966 Vol. 3 (ESP 4051)
Karl Berger (vibes), Bo Stief (bass), Aldo Romano (drums).
Composed by Don Cherry.
Recorded: live at Café Montmartre, Copenhagen, Denmark, March 3, 1966
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
Fresh off historic stints with Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler, Don Cherry in 1965 forged his own brand of avant-garde jazz that stitched together disparate songs or fragments into sidelong suites. Cherry followed that formula for his debut album, Complete Communion, and soon afterwards assembled an internationally populated band, touring Europe in support of the album.
The discrete ideas in "Remembrance" aren't so revolutionary on their own, but how the players, on Cherry's slightest cue, stretch out within each idea and swiftly transition to the next is amazing. At one point, Cherry out of nowhere states the first few notes of "One Bass Hit," and the band instinctively launches into a straight version of it for three minutes before moving on to the next concept.
Like Miles Davis had done with Coltrane, Cherry sought out a saxophone foil to his trumpet with a style diametrically opposed to his own. He found one in the then-unknown fiery young tenorist from Argentina, Leandro "Gato" Barbieri. As Cherry took a linear approach to melody, Barbieri seemed to recognize the beat but little else, his husky squawk often climbing into the upper register. Cherry provided the soul, but Gato lit a kerosene-soaked bed of charcoal under the band.
The anything-goes spirit of "Remembrance" is a joyful result of contrasting personalities combining for the common purpose of making exciting, unpredictable music.
Reviewer: S. Victor Aaron