Thursday, March 26, 2020

Don Cherry - 1969 - Eternal Rhythm

Don Cherry
Eternal Rhythm

01. Eternal Rhythm, Part 1 (17:45)
Baby's Breath
"Sonny Sharrock"
Turkish Prayer
Crystal Clear (Exposition)
Endless Beginnings
Baby's Breath (Unaccompanied)
02. Eternal Rhythm, Part 2 (23:37)
Autumn Melody
Crystal Clear (Development)
Screaming J
Always Beginnings

Bass – Arild Andersen
Cornet, Gamelan [Gender, Saron], Flute [Bengali Flute In A, Bamboo Flute In C, Metal Flute In B Flat, Plastic Flute In C], Performer [Haitian Guard], Bells [Northern Bells], Voice, Composed By – Don Cherry
Cover, Layout – Heinz Bähr
Drums, Gamelan [Saron], Gong, Bells, Voice – Jacques Thollot
Guitar – Sonny Sharrock
Piano, Piano [Prepared] – Joachim Kühn
Tenor Saxophone, Oboe, Clarinet, Flute – Bernt Rosengren
Trombone – Albert Mangelsdorff, Eje Thelin
Vibraphone, Piano, Gamelan [Gender] – Karl Berger

Don Cherry's Eternal Rhythm Group was organised and recorded in collaboration with the Berlin Jazz Festival, Nov 11th and 12th 1968.
Gamelan instruments by courtesy of the Indonesian Embassy, Bonn-Bad Godesberg, Germany.

Don Cherry is, in my opinion, one of the most innovative, intriguing figures in jazz. A founder of the world fusion jazz, Cherry studied music from all across the globe and melded it into massive, powerful and free-flowing suites of music. Looking at the credits on Eternal Rhythm , you'll notice that his musicianship had no geographical bounds. Sure, there's a typical jazz entourage on here - trumpet, tenor sax, trombone, drums and piano. But it's complimented by a whole host of uncommon instruments. Along side the classics are a vibraphone, saron, flute, multiple gongs, and a whole host of gamelan / eastern instruments. Cherry didn't hesitate to venture outside of traditional instrumentation but didn't seem to do so just to be different.

While plenty of jazz musicians hopped on the popular "spiritual jazz" wagon in the 70's, Cherry seemed to be slightly ahead of the game. In the 50's, he teamed up with some of the odder characters in jazz - Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman and Archie Shepp. All three would become part of "The New Thing", the spark that conceived the free jazz movement. In 1960, he continued the trend, teaming up with John Coltrane for The Avant-Garde , an archival release that would seem ironically tame by its 1966 release. By the time Eternal Rhythm was released, Cherry was an experienced, accomplished musician.

What made Cherry stand out amongst his mid 60's / early 70's contemporaries, however, was his earnestness as a musician. I find that while many musicians simply added eastern elements to appear trendy or enlightened, Cherry took a different approach. He seemed to add different influences as a way of increasing the freedom of his music. In his albums, eastern instruments are used to play African spirituals, Eastern ones play Americanized tunes, etc. He experiments and toys with new musical ideas in this manner to increase the possible combinations and add an almost global feel to his songs. No cultural borders would stifle his creativity or independence as a musician. And while many spiritual jazz artists focus on the meditative, Cherry did the opposite - he was brash, bold and experimental.

Its main focus is certainly musical freedom. It's essentially a massive jam session, split into two parts, with little musical structure throughout. Part I of the suite uses instruments to create pure chaos. Gongs crash awkwardly, horns scream in the background and these xylophones clang around uncomfortably. The first half of this track essentially lacks harmony, though there are some moments where the musicians reach a bit of a consensus. They get in sync occasionally but quickly depart into more exploratory sessions. They continually meet in common ground, only for brief moments, only to continue in a cacophonous exercise.

Part II reinforces the same themes but includes more harmonious sections. The band starts off aggressively free, again, with screeching instruments, a bit of yelping and polyrhythmic drumming. But the band settles down and creates a mellower, more spiritual passage of music. It still feels very organic and powerful but the moments of harmony make it an easier listen. The "freeness" of this jazz ebbs and flows and it's incredible to hear them break apart the music and build it back together again. That's really the beauty of Eternal Rhythm .

There's also an incredible section towards the middle of this track (16-20minutes) where the band's chemistry becomes apparent. They suddenly erupt into a spiritual, bluesy track, much more traditional than the rest of the recording. It's gorgeous passage and Cherry in particular provides some outstanding solos.

What I like about Cherry is his ability to blend chaos with more accessible tunes. It's very easy to critique free jazz, because a lot of it is experimental and as a result, grating. I rarely find myself listening to or enjoying much from the movement but someone like Cherry is intriguing. He proves that he can break apart music and rebel in his own musical manner. And after he does so, he proves that he can also create a gorgeous passages of traditional music with a number of nontraditional influences.

Phenomenal listen, all around.

Dies Irae - 1971 - First

Dies Irae

01. Lucifer 4:42
02. Salve Oimel 0:34
03. Another Room 4:06
04. Trip 7:56
05. Harmagedon Dragonlove 5:07
06. Tired 4:59
07. Witches' Meeting 9:17
08. Red Lebanese 5:12
09. Run Off 0:33

- Andreas F. Cornelius / drums
- Robert J. Schiff / bass
- Harald H.G. Thoma / guitar, vocals
- Cord Wahlmann / lead vocals, harmonica

Produced for Pilz-Records on 3. + 4. June 1971 in Star-Studios, Hamburg .

Tripped out psychedelic blues/rock which can be compared to everything from Chuck Berry on quailudes to some early Earth/Black Sabbath. Recorded over a period of 25 hours by top-flight German recording engineer Connie Plank at Star recording studios in Hamburg in June '71, this one off album from Dies Irae ( Day Of Wrath ) achieved some notoriety at the time of it's release because many radio stations refused to play it because of dabblings in the occult even though the drugged out vocals ( sung in English ) were barely comprehensible through the narcotic haze which prevades over most of the album.
Although there are a few tracks ( Lucifer, Another Room, Armagedon Dragonlove ) that get into some groovin' blues/rock riffing there's just too much LSD in these concoctions especially the drugged out vocals to take too seriously. Tired picks up the pace somewhat followed by Witches Meeting which gets into some freaky guitar effects but too much time is wasted on a couple of directionless bass and drum solos here. Red Lebanese Parts 1&2 ( another drug of choice? ) continues on with a bit more structure and more freaky guitar and gets into a jazzier blues slant with Red Lebanese Part 2 briefly becoming more melodic with some acoustic thrown into the mixture along with some toned down electric guitar then returning to the original blues riff. The strangest track on the record and the one which perhaps holds the most curiousity is simply titled Trip. Basically a sound experiment, again with various guitar treatments that was also made into a surreal short 8mm film, a visual presentation of an LSD trip that was even shown on German TV!

Unfortunately the creative potential of these far out blues, rock and elecronic studio experiments are not fully realized because every groove they hit is just not exploited to the max. There are certainly some really cool moments in this mindtrip from these blues hippies, mostly thanks to Plank's studio wizardry, but Die Israe's First will hold more appeal for followers of '60s head counter-culture than it will for the uninitiated.

Curt Cress Clan - 1975 - CCC

Curt Cress Clan 

01. Cyclone 3:54
02. From The Back 4:30
03. Fields 3:46
04. Shuffle On Out 5:53
05. Delphine 3:27
06. 451271  3:35
07. No Answer 3:46
08. Movin' Right Along 2:45
09. Funk Off 4:59

Bass – Dave King
Drums, Percussion – Curt Cress
Flugelhorn – Ack Van Rooyen
Guitar – Volker Kriegel
Keyboards – Kristian Schultze

Recorded at the ”Scala Studio”, Munich 1975

1975 Curt Cress was only 22 years young but already known as one of the best and multi-purposed drummers in Germany. What we’re calling a fusion nowadays, the self-taught Curt Cress already fulfilled since end of the 60’s when he came from Orange Peel via Atlantis to Passport, the super-group around Klaus Doldinger. In between there happened numberless vinyl productions with the drummer, which strongly fortified his awesome reputation amongst the scene. The former label-boss of Passport, Sigi Loch, offered Cress the possibility to record an own album. Thus „CCC“ has been formed with Kristian Schultze and Dave King, whom Cress met shortly before, and with whom he wrote most parts of the album.
With Volker Kriegel and Ack van Rooyen two international high respected musicians joined the group. With this cast the recording sessions have been done in the Munich Scala Studio. Curt Cress remembers the relaxed work for this album: „The studio was on first floor directly above a pub. When we were getting hungry or thirsty we just went down to the pub for having meal and something to drink. Easy going!“ End of 1975 the album has been published at Atlantic and was a sensation. Hermann Haring praised in SOUNDS 1/1976 the agility and virtuosity of the album. The role of Curt Cress, who also was the producer of this album, he picked out in special: „During the mix at the studio Curt -and thus the rhythm basis- has been pushed to the fore with a lot of sure instinct. The listener is not feeling hassled by the drummer but is checking subliminal that he is the central figure of this album.“ Curt Cress comments this by retrospective: „It never was planned that my drums play an outstanding role, although my name was on the cover. When I listen to the songs today I cannot notice any oustanding of the drums. We players of „CCC“ had 100% equal rights at the development of the album. We have been friends who admired each ones work.“ Although „CCC“ was not called compatible for the mass, more than 10,000 pieces of the album have been sold, not bad for a Jazzrock-production. Curt Cress, Kristian Schultze and Dave King one year later knotted with SNOWBALL to the „CCC“-concept and brought the successful mixture of Jazz, Rock, and Funk to perfection and to an international high reputated project until the early 80’s.

Curt Cress Clan had one album released smack dab in the middle of the funky fusion era, and this album falls right in lockstep with expectation. Starts with a barnburner in 'Cyclone', and 'Fields' is wonderfully moody. 'Movin Right Along' also kicks a fair amount of booty. Despite the somewhat trite composition style, all is not lost, as it contains exceptional performances from Volker Kriegel (who obtains a wonderful fuzz guitar tone throughout); Kristian Schultze on keyboards (and yet again the fat analog synth tones are great here); and of course Cress himself on the drum kit, who gets in a few great patterns. One to buy if a fan of Kraut Fusion.

The Bridge - 1972 - Overdrive - Rock/Jazz-Party

The Bridge
Overdrive - Rock/Jazz-Party

01. Overdrive 2:20
02. Ambivalens 5:11
03. Dinghi 2:52
04. Alles Klar (Absolution) 3:27
05. Start 3:33
06. Stupsi (Ballade 1) 4:44
07. Recreation 3:52
08. Don't Count It 2:37
09. Relation (Ballade 2) 3:12
10. Puls 2:36

Bass [Uncredited] – Pawel Jarzebski
Drums – Joe Nay
Electric Piano [Fender Piano], Synthesizer – Kristian Schultze
Tenor Saxophone [Uncredited], Flute [Uncredited] – Olaf Kübler
Trumpet [Uncredited] – Dusko Goykovich

"Wenn das Bier im Glase swingt..."

Recorded 1972 at Horst Jankowski Studio.

Recreation is the reissue title of Overdrive. The music is a fine set of gritty electric piano oriented jazz (...rock) with plenty of fuzzy and dirty sounds including distorted bass and keyboards. Nice use of flute as well, and the album features a plethora of well written melodies. It would appear the album was originally oriented to television and film incidental music, though the tracks are more developed than that premise may imply. A year after this recording, Kristian Schultze joined Passport as their prime keyboardist for the next 4 albums or so.

Musician credits are only referenced within the liner notes. On this version of the release the musicians Olaf Kübler and Dusko Goykovich are not mentioned, although they are widely credited on reissues and elsewhere.

Kristian Schultze led a number of bands before he joined Passport in 1973. In 1969 he decided to take up music as his profession, and began studying electronic music and synthesizer-programming. In 1971 he founded his first jazz-rock band called Space Orbit Company, who were reputedly a "German Mahavishnu-formation". He then formed The Bridge, aka Kristian Schultze & The Bridge, aka "The Kristian Schultze Set" who were typically German fusion, similar to Sunbirds or Sincerely PT in feel. They only released the one album, on the budget Tempo label, which has been reissued under other band names and titles.

Manu Dibango - 1974 - Super Kumba

Manu Dibango 
Super Kumba

01. Super Kumba 6:50
02. Kata Kata 4:16
03. Bwembe Na Bwemba 3:03
04. Mabola Mongo (Instrumental) 3:18
05. Wasa N' Dolo 3:58
06. Diboki 3:20
07. Soir Au Village 3:57
08. Wana Di Lambo 6:20

Bass – Pierre Honore
Drums – Joby Jobs, Lucien Dobat
Guitar – Slim Pezin
Percussion – Ben's
Percussion [Tumba] – Manu Rodanet
Saxophone – Mam*, Patrick Bourgoin
Trombone – Benny Vasseur, Christian Guizin
Trumpet – Michel Barrot, Antoine Russo

Being one of the biggest figures in African music (not to mention jazz in general) and a globally-recognised personality whose popularity crosses linguistic and cultural barriers, there are bazillions of resources for biographical info on the man. His site and his autobiography, Three Kinds of Coffee, are likely the best places to get the real lowdown on his life but typing his name into the Google will also keep you busy with hours of reading - the man has done a lot in his 74 years (75 on February 10th) so there's plenty to catch up on.

What is lacking on teh internets is a straight-forward comprehensive discography of his major works - as is all too often the case with artists from the "Third World" who were active during the latter part of the 20th Century. We've done our best to sort out all the conflicting info and bring order out of chaos but if you have any corrections or additions, feel free to leave the info in the comments. Most of the earlier albums on Fiesta have yet to be re-issued but Manu has taken the reins with his back catalogue and has been releasing some of this material on his own Soul Makossa label over the past few years.

Manu Dibango - 1974 - Makossa Man

Manu Dibango 
Makossa Man

01. Pêpê Soup 4:00
02. Weya 5:55
03. Tôm Tôm 4:55
04. Mwassa Makossa 6:05
05. Moni 4:15
06. Essimo 6:05
07. Lakisane 4:30
08. Senga 5:25

Bass – Manfred Long, Philippe Neveu
Drums – Claude Vamur, Lucien Dobat
Edited By, Mixed By – Brad Davis, Donald C. Hahn
Guitar – Jerry Malekani, Slim Pezin
Organ – Harry Gatibelza
Percussion – Freedy N'Kounkou
Percussion [Tumba] – Smal "Manu" Rodanet
Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Piano, Organ, Vibraphone, Marimba, Vocals, Written-By, Composed By, Arranged By – Manu Dibango

What Manu Dibango offers us is a nice African-Funk album which remains me of, well nothing, i've heard. It's one of the vinyl my father possessed when he was adolescent and said to me that he listened to it a lot of time. Dibango is a multi-instrumentist. He plays on that release, saxophone alto and tenor, piano, organ, vibes( I adore vibes, i'm a huge fan of Bobby Hutcherson's work) marimba and he handle all vocals.   The music parts, are top-notch and it's got a real funky feel. If you like funk music and you enjoy african music you've got to get a ear on that.

Manu Dibango - 1973 - Africadelic

Manu Dibango 

01. Soul Fiesta 2:10
02. Africadelic 2:15
03. The Panther 3:12
04. African Battle 3:15
05. Black Beauty 2:50
06. African Carnaval 2:26
07. Moving Waves 4:10
08. Afro-Soul 2:42
09. Oriental Sunset 1:43
10. Monkey Beat 2:40
11. Wa-Wa 3:00
12. Percussion Storm 1:52

It's hard to believe there is a musician anywhere on this earth that could mix great jazz chops with a soulful outlook and a worldly attitude and still make it so fun and funky that it doesn't matter what allegiance you address. This stuff rocks. And, amazingly, it's just as timely now as it was back then.

The following tunes come from Manu Dibango's Africadelic album, the tremendous 1973 French-only follow-up of sorts to the worldwide smash that was “Soul Makossa." Copies of this LP, which was briefly issued on CD about a decade ago, can still be found (and, surprisingly, the LP is actually easier and cheaper to get a hold of than the CD).

Several folks have posted samples of the music from this album on YouTube, which I am only too pleased to share here.

I've been a big fan of Cameroon's greatest living musician since Manu Dibango's classic “Soul Makossa" in 1972—which surely everybody in the free world knows by now (it's influenced much music, including, most notably, Michael Jackson's 1983 hit “Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'").

But I was convinced by Electric Africa (1985) and fully converted by Wakafrika (1994). Africadelic is just one of the hidden gems in Manu DiBango's capacious catalog. Here are examples of why it's so good:

This album has some funky grooves and its kind of Santana like in places, like, on 'African Battle'. The percussion and organs no matter what country, when they get funky, well, they sound Santana like, and the Afro on this album has latin flavours and is quite percussive. This is an all instrumental album, uneven but good. Some tracks totally outshine others, but I think more than anything it is the song composition on some, not the funky horns, searing guitar, excellent percussion, or other instruments, they are really good. Some really nice flute and vibes on 'Oriental Sunset'. The album was composed and recorded in the span of one week by Manu Dibango, after the success of 'Soul Mokossa', maybe it was rushed, or Dibango had so much music bursting out of him, he had to get it out, lay it down. But really, no complaints here, I just played it five times in a row,,, must be good.

Manu Dibango - 1972 - O Boso

Manu Dibango
O Boso

01. Soul Makossa 4:25
02. New Bell (Hard Pulsation) 6:51
03. Nights In Zeralda 4:38
04. Hibiscus 6:23
05. Dangwa (Three Points) 6:00
06. Wild Man In The City 4:20
07. O Boso 5:23
08. Ngosso 2:50

Bass – Long Manfred
Congas [Tumba] – Manu Rodanet
Drums – Joby Jobs
Electric Guitar – Malekany Gerry
Guitar – Pierre Zogo
Percussion – Freddy Mars
Piano – Georges Arvanitas, Patrice Galas
Saxophone, Written-By – Manu Dibango

French issue with "Soul Makossa" added to tracklist.

“Soul Makossa” is a song released as a single in 1972 by Cameroon saxophonist and songwriter Manu Dibango. It is often cited as one of the first disco records. In 1972, David Mancuso found a copy in a Brooklyn West Indian record store and often played it at his The Loft parties. The response was so positive that the few copies of “Soul Makossa” in New York City were quickly purchased. The song was subsequently played heavily by Frankie Crocker, who deejayed at WBLS, then New York’s most popular black radio station. Since the original release was so obscure, at least 23 groups quickly released cover versions to capitalize on the demand for the record.

Later in 1972, American-based Atlantic Records licensed the original Manu Dibango version from French record label Fiesta, and released it as a single (with the B-side track being "Lily"). The single peaked at number 35 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1973; Dibango's original version of the song and a cover by Afrique were on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart at the same time. The song also became an international hit leading to even more cover versions by various groups around the world.

Except for some words in English, it was written in Duala, a native dialect continuum from Cameroon. The song is probably best known for the chanted vocal refrain "ma-ma-se, ma-ma-sa, ma-ma-ko-sa", which was adapted and used in songs by many prominent artists, such as Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" from his album Thriller (1982) and Rihanna's hit single "Don't Stop the Music" from Good Girl Gone Bad (2007).