CD Actions (CD 1118299),
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  • 1. Humus - The Life Exploring Force
    2. Sita Rama Encores
    3. Actions for Free Jazz Orchestra
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 3606

  • Credits
    ProducerJoachim Ernst Berendt

    Full performer name: Don Cherry/Krzysztof Penderecki.
    Personnel includes: Don Cherry, Krzysztof Penderecki, Manfred Schoof, Kenny Wheeler, Tomasz Stanko, Paul Rutherford, Albert Mangeldorff, Gerd Dudek, Peter Brotzmann, Willem Breuker, Gunter Hampel, Fred Van Hove, Terje Rypdal, Buschi Niebergall, Mocqui Cherry.
    Recorded live in Donaueschingen, Germany in 1971. Includes liner notes by Joachim Ernst Berendt.
    Digitally remastered using 24 bit technology by Dieter Wegner (2001, Studios 301, Cologne, Germany).
    Adapter: Don Cherry & Ed Blackwell.
    Personnel: Don Cherry & Ed Blackwell (vocals, flute, wooden flute, pocket trumpet); Terje Rypdal (guitar); Peter Warren (E-bow); Mocqui Cherry (tamboura); Gunter Hampel (flute, bass clarinet); Willem Breuker (clarinet, tenor saxophone); Gerd Dudek (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Peter Brtzmann (tenor saxophone, bass saxophone); Kenny Wheeler, Tomasz Stanko, Manfred Schoof (trumpet, cornet); Albert Mangelsdorff (trombone); Fred Van Hove (piano, organ); Han Bennink (drums, tabla, wood block, percussion).
    Audio Remasterer: Dieter Wegner.
    Liner Note Author: Joachim Berendt.
    Recording information: Donaueschingen Music Festival (10/17/1971).
    Photographer: Rolf W. Stoll.
    Arranger: Don Cherry & Ed Blackwell.
    This recording documents a live performance at the Donaueschingen Music Festival in 1971, but the co-crediting is somewhat misleading. While the New Eternal Rhythm Orchestra (named for Cherry's magnificent album from a few years prior, Eternal Rhythm) appears throughout, the first two pieces are by Cherry, the last by Penderecki. The two "principals" don't actually come into contact with each other. The orchestra is truly an all-star cast of the cream of European improvisers, each and every one having gone on to significant achievements. Cherry's "Humus - The Life Exploring Force" is a suite not too dissimilar to those he performed on both Eternal Rhythm and the ensuing Relativity Suite (including an early version of "Desireless"), ranging from raga-inspired lines to bluesy refrains, to jaunty modal riffs. If the performance is a little on the ragged side and if vocalist Loes Macgillycutty proves somewhat overbearing, it more than makes up for it in enthusiasm and joy. This is followed by a brief encore in which Cherry gets the audience to sing along on a complex (for Westerners) Indian scale; it's quite enchanting before exploding into a short, orchestral free-for-all. Penderecki's "Actions for Free Jazz Orchestra" is another kettle of fish entirely. The composer had often used jazz elements in his previous works, though always sublimated to his overall classical (if avant-garde) direction. Here, he makes a good attempt to meet this "foreign" genre halfway, allowing the orchestra much latitude for improvisation while supplying dark and brooding borders to keep things corralled. The problem is, that's basically all there is to the piece: alternating written parts (fine in and of themselves) and free improv (also energetically performed) with little to conceptually bind them. It's not a bad performance by any means, and is of some degree of historical import if only to document a relatively rare meeting of the jazz and classical avant-garde, but it doesn't quite hold together as a solid work. Fans of Cherry, though, will definitely want to own this disc as a significant addition to his stellar work of the late '60s and early '70s. ~ Brian Olewnick

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