After he left Ornette Coleman's quartet, trumpeter Don Cherry worked with a variety of collaborators and traveled more widely. He met Leandro "Gato" Barbieri in Italy years before the Argentinian saxophonist became a superstar; back then he was still heavily influenced by Albert Ayler. Cherry and Barbieri quickly bonded and began working together, with Cherry's Blue Note album Complete Communion, recorded with Barbieri (using a different rhythm section) on Christmas Eve of 1965, their first studio collaboration. They worked together in Europe so often that they had a regular quintet with German vibraphonist Karl Berger, French bassist Jean Francois Jenny Clark, and Italian drummer Aldo Romano. Clark, however, could not make the band's month-long residency at Copenhagen's most famous jazz club, so young American bassist Cameron Brown was called to replace him -- but he's not the bassist here. These performances were recorded for radio broadcast, and Danish radio rules said at least one native had to be in the band. Thus Bo Steif slid into the group for these recordings -- and stayed after Brown's musical commitments took him elsewhere.
All three volumes of ESP-Disk's series of concert recordings from this group's 1966 feature performances of Cherry's suite Complete Communion from the album of the same name, but before we get to that on this night, there's a rather interesting program of shorter pieces. After a brief opening theme making reference to Cherry's time with Coleman (see if you can recognize it), Cherry's move into world music is heralded with a lengthy version of Luiz Bonfa's theme for the movie Black Orpheus. Next comes Cherry's tribute to another recent collaborator, Albert Ayler (Cherry and Ayler can be heard on ESP1016 and ESP4035), quoting Ayler's "Ghosts." "Remembrance" is actually the final section of the Blue Note version of the Complete Communion suite, but here it stands alone; Elephantasy, the other suite on that LP, is played much more briefly here before we finally get Complete Communion.
Don Cherry: trumpet
Gato Barbieri: tenor saxophone
Karl Berger: vibraphone
Bo Steif: bass
Aldo Romano: drums
"It has been over 40 years since the performance and it has not lost its impact." – Jerry D'Souza, All About Jazz
"This joyously free yet well organized modern music is to some extent an outgrowth of Cherry's early experiences with Ornette Coleman but is much more directly inspired by the imaginative principles and grandly expressive behavior of Albert Ayler."
– Arwulf Arwulf, All Music Guide