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With the reissue of Where Is Brooklyn?, Blue Note completes a trilogy of Don Cherry releases (also including Complete Communion and Symphony for Improvisers) which up to now had only been available on CD in a limited edition Mosaic box set. Cherry initially came into wide prominence in jazz as a member of Ornette Coleman's landmark 1959-61 quartet.
Where Is Brooklyn features bassist Henry Grimes, drummer Ed Blackwell and tenor titan Pharoah Sanders. The five selections have no themes or structures. Rather, they are filled with turbulent rhythms that allow for a surplus of free improvisation by each member of the quartet. Each composition is a blank canvas upon which each musician paints his own picture. Cherry and and a 26-year-old Sanders continually play off each other, taking the music further out, painting scenes of clashing bright reds and greens. The best is the seventeen-minute closer, "Unite," with its stormy, explosive playing, allowing each musician to stretch out more than the album's other shorter compositions.
Where Is Brooklyn? can be challenging music. There are no melodies or toe-tapping beats. The playing is in-your-face, take-no-prisoners stuff. While certainly not an easy listen, it is still rewarding due to the heartfelt playing. Remastered in crisp and clear 24-bit resolution, the sound quality is excellent. For jazz fans curious about the avant-garde, the challenging music on Where Is Brooklyn? is as fine a place to start.
Track Listing: Awake Nu; Taste Maker; Thing; There is the Bomb; Unite.
Personnel: Don Cherry: cornet; Pharoah Sanders: tenor saxophone, piccolo; Henry Grimes: bass; Ed
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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