Organic Music Society

Don Cherry

One of the towering figures of American music, Don Cherry, was part of the revolutionary free-bop quartet led by Ornette Coleman in the late 1950s and early 1960s, an ensemble that helped shift the conversation about jazz from chord changes and swing to freedom and energy. Always an independent spirit, Cherry brought his openness and burgeoning knowledge of traditional music from around the world to bear on the bold new music.

By the late 1960s, the pocket-cornet player was living in Sweden, with his wife Moki Karlsson, playing with Swedish musicians from all backgrounds, seeking out exiting partners in a somewhat hippie-like atmosphere. It was in this milieu, in the summers of 1971 and 1972 that Cherry recorded the tracks for his legendary double LP, Organic Music Society, which was released on Caprice and is here reissued for the first time on CD.

The sessions that comprise Organic Music Society are varied and represent several directions in Cherry’s oeuvre. Only two tracks (“Elixir” and “Relativity Suite”) were recorded in a studio setting; the rest of the music was made live, in wildly divergent circumstances. Along with various top-notch Swedish players – Bengt Berger, Christer Bothén, and Tommy Koverhult – The accomplices include Turkish percussionist Okay Temiz and an early appearance by the Brazilian berimbau specialist Naná Vasconcelos.

Cherry himself performs on pocket cornet, but also on voice, harmonium, flute, conch shell and piano. Compositions include some familiar material, such as “Relativity Suite” and Pharoah Sanders’ classic “The Creator Has a Master Plan” and fascinating material from Dollar Brand (“Bra Joe from Kilimanjaro”) and even the world minimalist composer Terry Riley (“Terry’s Tune”). Some tracks are long, loose, and meditative (“North Brazilian Ceremonial Hymn”), while others are taut and bracing; on one track, a 50-piece string orchestra accompanies the band. Across the board, on organic Music Society we find Cherry’s intense interest in multicultural sounds, in the intersections of improvisation and folk music, and the expansion of jazz into a melting pot of sonic experience.

Read more
Show playlist
    • 1.
      North Brazilian Ceremonial Hymn Music: Nelson Angelo Calvacante
      12’25
    • 2.
      Elixir Music: Don Cherry
      6’08
    • 3.
      Manusha Raga Kamboji Music: Hans Isgren
      2’19
    • 4.
      Relativity Suite (Part 1) Music: Don Cherry
      6’52
    • 5.
      Relativity Suite (Part 2) Music: Don Cherry
      11’59
    • 6.
      Terry's Tune Music: Terry Riley
      1'56
    • 7.
      Hope Music: Don Cherry
      10’08
    • 8.
      The Creator Has a Master Plan Music: Pharoah Sanders-Leon Thomas
      6’28
    • 9.
      Sidhartha Music: Don Cherry
      1’59
    • 10.
      Utopia & Visions Music: Don Cherry
      6’33
    • 11.
      Bra Joe from Kilimanjaro Music: Dollar Brand
      2’33
    • 12.
      Terry's Tune Music: Terry Riley
      5'10
    • 13.
      Resa Music: Don Cherry
      5’41
  • Total playtime 77'31

Compact Disc // CAP 21827 // Jazz // Releasedate: 17 May, 2012