The late great trumpeter Don Cherry grew up in Watts, jammed with Latin bands while in middle school, and went on to play with jazz greats John Coltrane, Billy Higgins, Charlie Haden and saxophonist Ornette Coleman, to name a few. Cherry, whose very life was a free-flowing improvisation, travelled the world incorporating a diverse mix of instruments and sounds into his music—which evolved into a spirited culture of its own. In this first tribute to Don Cherry in his hometown, a host of local musicians including two of Cherry’s children, pay homage to this beloved pioneer of jazz and world music.
Read more about legendary trumpet player and world music figure Don Cherry, here: Don Cherry, World Jazz Spirit.
David Ornette Cherry is a composer, band leader, and jazz keyboardist. He received the ASCAP- Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music in 2003. Cherry grew up in Watts and studied composition with Don Cherry and Ornette Coleman, and has played with a number of jazz greats, including: Ed Blackwell, Charlie Haden, Billy Higgins, Dewey Redman, Nana Vasconcelos, Jim Pepper, Thara Memory, The Watts Prophets, Kamau Daaood, as well as his father-- the late great jazz trumpeter, Don Cherry. Cherry has performed his elegant Ensemble for Improvisors at venues as varied as The Modern Museum in Stockholm, the Rubin Museum, and The Jazz Museum in Harlem. He collaborated on two theatre projects—“No Strangers Here Today” and “The Hillsboro Story”-- with performance artist Susan Banyas, and wrote the music for “Embers,” a jazz opera in poems, written by Terry Wolverton.
Jan Cherry, daughter of jazz and world musician Don Cherry, creates innovative sounds on violin, vocal, keyboard and percussion. She was one of the original members of the Jazz Composer’s Orchestra in New York City, performing at the premiere of Don Cherry’s “Relativity Suite” alongside Leroy Jenkins, Frank Lowe, Ed Blackwell and Charlie Haden. She also toured Europe with Don Cherry’s Magic Band in company with Native American saxophonist, Jim Pepper. Cherry has studied with Brazilian percussionist Nana Vasconcelos and traveled as a member of Don Cherry’s MultiKulti Ensemble. As an avid student of Ornette Coleman’s harmolodic music theory, Cherry recorded and performed with poet Jayne Cortez and drummer Denardo Coleman on “Borders of Disorderly Time.” She has also performed with such renowned artists as Stevie Wonder, Teddy Edwards, Sr., Barry White, Lena Horne and others. Cherry collaborated with drummer and family friend Billy Higgins on a soon-to-be released CD.
Mark Maxwell has been involved in L.A. jazz for nearly three decades, beginning as a saxophonist in the mid-80’s and then as co-leader of the Leimert Park band Biafra throughout the 1990’s. Since its inception in 2001, Maxwell has been a member of Carlos Nino’s celebrated soul jazz ensemble “Build An Ark,” and has also emceed for a number of local jazz performances and events, lectured on jazz at local colleges, and has published a feature article on free jazz in URB Magazine. For the last 15 years, Maxwell has hosted the jazz program RISE on KPFK (90.7 FM).
Organic Roots musicians: Justo Almario (reeds); Jan Cherry (violin, vocals); Steven Cranston Smith (trumpet); Roberto Miranda (acoustic bass); Ollie Elder Jr. (electronic bass soundscape); John L. Price (vibes, Ghanian/North Indian percussion); Don Littleton (drums, cajon, percussion); David Ornette Cherry (piano, melodica, dousn' gounni, spirit flute)
ALOUD would like to give special thanks to Dennie Hagerty's Keyboard Concepts for providing the lovely Yamaha grand piano for tonight's performance.
Unless otherwise indicated, ALOUD programs take place at the Los Angeles Central Library's Mark Taper Auditorium, 630 W. Fifth Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071.