JazzTimes (6/00, pp.102-4) - "...[He] articulated an avant positivism that still has many esteemed adherents....the buoyant, often folkish themes of this LP is decidedly user-friendly....this is adventurous music even by today's standards..."
Personnel: Don Cherry (cornet); Gato Barbieri (tenor saxophone); Henry Grimes (bass); Ed Blackwell (drums).
Producer: Alfred Lion.
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on December 24, 1965. Includes liner notes by Nat Hentoff.
While Don Cherry is most readily associated with his work with Ornette Coleman, he also made many contributions to the free-jazz canon on his own. Here on the colossal COMPLETE COMMUNION, Cherry demonstrates his uncanny talents in two large ensemble works that contain the entire pedagogy of what by 1965 was the full-blown "New Thing." Eschewing the conventions of the norm was the order of the day for Cherry and his pianoless quartet, which included a young Gato Barbieri before his excursions into fiery Latin celebrations.
The concepts flow freely from one to the other in the massive title suite. Here Cherry and Barbieri toss the mantle of expression back and forth with what seems like an impassioned conversation. The melodies, when there are any, are irregular in shape and function as themes are traded among each member of the ensemble. Drummer Ed Blackwell is the engine of the group, providing churning support and filling in open areas with colorful flourishes and intriguing sound effects. The second large work, "Elephantasy," begins with an angular bounce before gliding into a mesmerizing free section. Everything from burning bop to a schizophrenic waltz completes the piece, which bubbles with bewitching freedom.