A&M : 1976
DC, trumpet, electric piano, voice; Charlie Haden, acoustic bass; Billy Higgins, drums; Frank Lowe, tenor sax; Ricky Cherry, electric piano; Bunchie Fox, electric bongos; Verna Gillis, voice.
Chilly Jay Chill: I donâ??t normally think of Don Cherry when I think of jazz-rock fusion. World music fusion, sure. But this sounds likeâ?¦ Can.
Prof. Drew LeDrew: Really good Can. Like what they always wanted their Ethnic Forgery series to sound like but it never did. In terms of quality, this is right up there with Ege Bamyasi.
CJC: Itâ??s amazing what you can do with a few electric pianos and some voices. And who knew Don could chant like that? Definitely gives Damo Suzuki a run for his money.
DLD: Hey, donâ??t forget the electric bongos. Thatâ??s clearly the secret ingredient here.
CJC: For those who donâ??t know, we should point out that Don Cherry made his name playing a small pocket trumpet as part of Ornette Colemanâ??s first quartetÂ in the â??50s. Wonderful acoustic jazz. Classic stuff.
DLD: He obviously kept developing from there.
CJC: This blows my theory that there was no good fusion after 1975. Itâ??s like heâ??s absorbed all the jazz-fusion innovations, plus the Indian trance music he loved, and then swallowed a serious dose of Krautrock for good measure. There might even be some disco in there, too. Staggering.
DLD: And it still somehow sounds like him. Itâ??s no gimmick. Is the rest of the album this good?
CJC: Close. Nothing quite scales this particular peak but the other three tracks are all amazing in their own right. Theyâ??re less Can and more a combination of fusion jazz and Indian drones. No more electric bongos.
DLD: A pity.
Noted: You can buy a digital copy of this album via Verve.