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Don Cherry (Trumpet)/John Coltrane: The Avant-Garde

Track List

Album Notes

Personnel: John Coltrane (soprano & tenor saxophones); Don Cherry (trumpet); Charlie Haden, Percy Heath (acoustic bass); Ed Blackwell (drums).

Recorded at Atlantic Studios, New York, New York on June 28 & July 8, 1960. Originally released on Atlantic (1451). Includes liner notes by A.B. Spellman.

Digitally remastered by George Piros (Atlantic Studios, New York, New York).

Personnel: John Coltrane (soprano & tenor saxophones); Don Cherry (trumpet); Charlie Haden, Percy Heath (acoustic bass); Ed Blackwell (drums).

Recorded at Atlantic Studios, New York, New York on June 28 & July 8, 1960. Originally released on Atlantic (1451). Includes liner notes by A.B. Spellman and Neil Tesser.

Digitally remastered by Dan Hersch (DigiPrep).

John Coltrane's search for a fresh musical feeling--in which the front line and the rhythm section are more nearly equal--began through an exhaustive study of chords. But alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman and his acolyte Don Cherry had discovered another path by concentrating on rhythmic melodies and a polytonal brand of modality. Coltrane played with Coleman from time to time (though they never recorded), and even studied with Ornette.

THE AVANT GARDE is the fruit of their admiration for each other, but co-leader Don Cherry nearly steals the show. Originally inspired by Fats Navarro and Miles Davis, Cherry responded to Coleman's inspiration with fluttery melodic lines and tart harmonic dissonances. On THE AVANT GARDE, his minimalist melodies and witty rhythmic displacements are a perfect contrast to Coltrane's voluminous testimonies--serving to illustrate his innovations in brass phrasing. In addition, the absence of a pianist forces the bass players to carry the whole band, and its a great joy to contrast Charlie Haden's rounded tone and bouncing melodic chromaticism on "Cherryco" with Percy Heath's rhythmic drive and chordal mastery on "The Invisible." Heath had recorded with Coleman, and his brilliant blues improvisations electrify "Focus On Sanity."

Then there's the great drummer Ed Blackwell, who turns everyone out with his uncanny independence, melodic touch and joyous swing. Listen to him fill in around Coltrane's long linear testimonies and Cherry's rhythmic dipsy doodles on the joyous "Cherryco," and how ancient echoes of work songs, parades and African polyrhythms resonate through his solo. Coltrane leaps into "Focus On Sanity" like a man possessed, while Cherry answers with a feathery tone, convoluted lines and stabbing brass accents, before leading Trane through the glorious second section, with its bluesy, near-eastern modalities. On "The Blessing," Trane matches Cherry's tone with flute-like timbres on soprano saxophone, and is particularly aroused by the rhythmic slang of "The Invisible." And in a fitting nod to an old master, he and Cherry find inspiration aplenty on Monk's "Bemsha Swing."



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