By Bill Meyer | Published December 2021
Music is the Cherry family business. Eagle Eye and Neneh Cherry have gotten the most mainstream attention, but their older brother, David Ornette Cherry, is the one whose work is closest to father Don’s. Not only is he the one to take up the douss’n gouni, the Malian stringed instrument that was one of his father’s favorite implements of sound production; he is the one to most thoroughly embrace Don’s multicultural folk esthetic.
On Organic Nation Listening Club (The Continual), this esthetic is expressed partly by combinations of stringed and percussive instruments from around the world. On the Sun Ra-like “Cosmic Nomad,” Paul Simms’ trumpet snakes through a web of hand drums and exotic reeds. Tablas mix with funky keyboards and guitar on “Cultural Workers (The Continual); flutes, marimba and sampled birdsong engage in a courtly dance on “Najour.” Cosmic invocations of Mother Africa assert the music’s cultural roots, and hip-hop beats connect it to a more contemporary, international method of oral transmission, while also affirming Don’s own indulgences in rhythmic wordplay.
The programmed beats underpin righteous admonishments to keep it real, but while these elements contribute to the music’s pop sheen, they also feel a bit off-the-rack. The more abstract and atmospheric passages are also more involving. On “The Frame of Creativity,” a forest of humid percussion casts an eerie light upon the leader’s piano playing. And on the aptly named “Hidden Sounds,” the farther one listens into the collage that swirls behind Ranato Caranto’s foregrounded saxophone, the farther one wants to go.
It’s worth noting that Neneh’s daughter, Naima Karlsson, and her partner in the group Exotic Sin, Kenichi Iwasa, contribute keyboard and winds to the mix. The family’s tradition continues.
Organic Nation Listening Club (The Continual): So & So & So And So; Parallel Experience; Ancestors Are Calling; Cultural Workers (The Continual); The Frame Of Creativity; Eagle Play; Hidden Sounds; Najou; Cosmic Nomad; Organic Talk (CD exclusive). (43:20)
Personnel: David Ornette Cherry, vocal, soundcapes, douss’n gouni, percussion, electronic percussion, piano, keyboards; Crystal Blackcreek Carlisle, spiritual message, vocals; Gemi Taylor, guitar; Joe Janiga, African banjo; John L. Price, drums, dun dun, pahkagudu, timpani; Kenichi Iwasa, muted trumpet, Don Cherry’s instrument blue reeds; Nadene Rasmussen, viola; Naima Karlsson, electric piano; Ollie Elder Jr., acoustic bass, electric bass; Paul Simms, trumpet; Ralph Jones III, Vietnamese flute, Norwegian flute; Renato Caranto, saxophone; Tyson McVey, vocal soundscapes.
Ordering Info: davidornettecherry.bandcamp.com