Home » Jazz Articles » Cherry, Redman, Haden and Blackwell: Opening The Doors Of Percepti...


Multiple Reviews

Cherry, Redman, Haden and Blackwell: Opening The Doors Of Perception


Sign in to view read count
The quartet finds new levels of desolation in Ornette's 'Lonely Woman.' If this was, at its core, 'the same music,' these were not quite the same musicians: the new dreams had taken care of that.
—Steve Lake
ECM's audiophile vinyl reissue series Luminessence has a simple mission statement: it is to showcase albums that have "changed perceptions of creative music making." The series kicked off in April 2023 with Kenny Wheeler's Gnu High (1976) and Nana Vasconcelos' Saudade (1979). These are to be followed towards the end of June 2023 with Old and New Dreams' Old And New Dreams (1979) and Gary Burton's The New Quartet (1973). Some of the Luminessence albums will come in facsimiles of the original sleeves, others—such as Old And New Dreams and The New Quartet—have gatefold sleeves and new liner notes.

As with the April albums, the new pair are subtly connected. One embraces the contemporary fascination with electric instruments, the other purposefully rejects it.

Old And New Dreams
Old And New Dreams

The first thing that needs to be said about Old And New Dreams is that it is a 360-degree, deep strata, Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, solid gold, stone killer and to have it available on audiophile vinyl, with an informative 2000-word sleeve essay by Steve Lake, is good news indeed. The quartet, Ornette Coleman alumni Don Cherry (pictured above), Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden and Ed Blackwell, who formed Old And New Dreams to celebrate the acoustic music of pre-Prime Time Coleman, give it up from the heart.

The second thing to say, or rather, to ask, is can the album really be said to have "changed perceptions of creative music making"? Old And New Dreams, after all, was inspired by musical innovations that had already been made, by Coleman himself with the members of Old And New Dreams variously alongside him. Further, the group's 1979 ECM album, one of two it made for the label, was not even its first (that was an LP with the same name released on Black Saint two years earlier).

To which the answer is: read the fine print. On their first two albums, Old And New Dreams did indeed change perceptions of creative music making. The quartet was on a planet far, far away from your run-of-the-mill tribute band. The musicians had no intention of preserving Coleman's music in aspic, their purpose was instead to take it forward, developing it as they went. Hence "old" and "new" dreams.

Item: "In Old And New Dreams' epic, widescreen rendition," writes Lake, "Coleman's 'Lonely Woman' is not merely 'lonely.' She is existentially bereft. The quartet finds new levels of desolation in Ornette's plaintive theme, with Haden's throbbing gut-string bass stirring large emotions from the first moment. And if this was, at its core, 'the same music,' these were not quite the same musicians—the new dreams had taken care of that—despite undimmed respect for their mentor." (Check the YouTube clip below).

Along with "Lonely Woman," the programme includes Coleman's "Open Or Close," Blackwell's "Togo," Cherry's "Guinea," Redman's "Orbit Of La-Ba," and Haden's "Song For The Whales."

Cherry, Redman, Haden and Blackwell were always more than passive disciples, and this album changed perceptions not only of Coleman's music but also of the creative potential of tribute bands in general. Aldous Huxley may have got to the doors of perception first, but he was not the last person to open them...

Gary Burton
The New Quartet

...and while Miles Davis and his circa-1970 plugged-in cohort may have got to jazz-rock first, changing perceptions of creative jazz in the process, Gary Burton was among the fellow-travellers hard on his heels. The New Quartet is the only album Burton recorded with guitarist Michael Goodrick, electric bassist Abraham Laboriel and drummer Harry Blazer, three relatively unknown musicians from Boston. It was made shortly after Burton returned to his alma mater, Boston's Berklee College of Music, to begin three decades there as an educator.

Like Old And New Dreams, The New Quartet is a blinder. It is a well-integrated blend of jazz and rock sensibilities—and, once again, it is the material as well as the performances which provides the interest. There is one Burton original ("Brownout") and seven covers, one each from electric-Davis bandmembers Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea ("Coral" and "Open Your Eyes You Can Fly"), one from Carla Bley ("Olhos De Gato"), two from Gordon Beck ("Tying Up Loose Ends," "Mallet Man"), and two from Mike Gibbs ("Four Or Less," "Nonsequence").

It is worth noting, by the by, that the eight pieces include four by London-based musicians, Beck and Gibbs, an unusually high proportion on a US album in 1973 (or indeed 2023), and one deriving, at least indirectly, from Davis' inclusion of Britons John McLaughlin and Dave Holland in the lineup on Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1970).

In his liner interview, conducted in 2022, Burton is admirably free of b.s. about the proportion of covers to originals. "Although I write songs," he says, "occasionally I looked at my friends. Keith, Chick, Carla and Steve Swallow, Mike Gibbs, and so on—who I knew were better writers than me. They could all turn out really meaningful pieces, even before breakfast, any morning... but I could only come up with one every few years."

Burton's forte is as an interpreter, and in that arena The New Quartet is up there with his more or less contemporaneous duo set with Swallow, Hotel Hello (ECM, 1975).

Other titles selected for Luminessence release in 2023 include Jan Garbarek's Afric Pepperbird (1971), Anouar Brahem's Madar (1994) and, of course, Garbarek's Luminessence (1975). More will follow.

Tracks and Personnel

Old And New Dreams

Tracks: Lonely Woman; Togo; Guinea; Open Or Close; Orbit Of La-Ba; Song For The Whales.

Personnel: Don Cherry: trumpet; piano; Dewey Redman: tenor saxophone, musette; Charlie Haden: bass; Ed Blackwell: drums.

The New Quartet

Tracks: Open Your Eyes You Can Fly; Coral; Tying Up Loose Ends; Brownout; Olhos De Gato; Mallet Man; Four Or Less; Nonsequence.

Personnel: Gary Burton: vibraphone; Michael Goodrick: guitar; Abraham Laboriel: bass; Harry Blazer: drums.

Post a comment

Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.



Beyond Orbits
Miho Hazama's M_Unit
Paul Dietrich
Dear Zbigniew
Greg Byers


Double Portrait
Giuseppe Millaci and the Vogue Trio
Afro Futuristic Dreams
Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids
Pharoah (Box Set)
Pharoah Sanders
Dynamic Maximum Tension
Darcy James Argue's Secret Society

On the record

Vibes on a Breath
Ted Piltzecker
Jonathan Karrant
Brazilian Match
Luiz Millan
Double Portrait
Giuseppe Millaci and the Vogue Trio

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.