31 March 2020

Don Cherry's Norwegian Sextet live at NRK 1969

There seems to be somewhat of a Don Cherry revival going on in our contributions section,  spilling over to the front page, so here is another contribution which to my knowledge has not been mentioned yet. This is a recording made in the NRK (Norwgian Broadcasting Corporation) studios in October 1969. At the time Don Cherry had played concerts in and around Oslo with what was the Jan Garbarek Quartet. At the instigation of Erling Wicklund at NRK, they assembled in the NRK studies and were joined by Sidsel Paaske, better known as a painter, but here contributing vocals and jaws harp.

A piece in the magazine Ballade from 2012 entitled "Fusion in the lotus position" pointed to the integration of folk music in jazz improvisation of which Don Cherry was an important catalyst. He had worked with musicians from Turkey, Latin America and Sweden and was in Garbarek's view somewhat of a world artist. One could say that Garbarek has followed in his tracks, drawing on Norwegian tradional music as well as collaborating with Indian musicians. Sidsel Paaske, which we can hear on a couple of tunes, draws explicitly on Norwegian folk music.

The sound is low-fi, slightly cavernous. From what I know, this was probably recorded off radio with a mike and not from TV as was suggested in the info notes that came with the files. But, despite poor sound quality, this is an important historical document. I have no idea whether the master tapes still reside in the NRK archives, but as of now, this is what we have to make do with.

As an aside, the Scandinavian link continued with Neneh Cherry (DC was her uncle) and the Thing, originally conceived as a Don Cherry tribute band. Her daughter, Mabel McVey, has become a major pop artist in a very short time with the tune "Don't call me up". Good musical genes in that family!

Don Cherry: tpt, fl, vcl, pno
Jan Garbarek: ten, fl
Sidsel Paaske: vcl, jaws harp
Terje Rypdal: gtr
Arild Andersen: b
Jan Christensen: d

1. Dance Of The Dinosaurs
2. Trane Flight
3. Man On The Moon

The track list is incomplete, so any assistance in filling in the blanks is welcomed.