Monday 19 June 2017

Terry Riley Don Cherry Duo

Calling all Planetary Dream Collectors, it is time to whirl dervish-like to the sound of Terry Riley and Don Cherry - and as the world spins around the axis we form, for once the terrible, chaotic blur of events (should you live in London especially) will dissolve, be dissolved by sound that is both moving (literally) and centred in a harmonious cyclical dance, enough to entrance and calm the most troubled minds. Riley's cosmic fugues defy/deny time, seemingly expanding it even as it is precisely measured, the opposite of waiting or watching, in his music every module measures what feels like instantaneous moments in an eternal flow. 

As I say that, I'm in danger of sounding as if I have indulged in mind-expanding drugs just as Riley did in the 60s. No matter, whatever it took to open and walk through the doors of perception it may or may not have created this sound as much as made it possible. Who knows? Did Charlie Parker need a fix to attain his sense of higher improvisational capabilities? Surely he was capable anyway, but can an artist and his life be severed so easily?

Here, on the first track, The Descending Moonshine Dervishes, fellow traveller of celestial roads, Don Cherry, proves himself a worthy partner, a man who was, as his track record proves, a free-ranging artist. So it is no surprise that his voice, although in some ways contrary to the rhythmic precision of Riley's, beautifully contrasts the cyclical pace. I'm reminded of the way Miles Davis would add restrained yet potent dimensions to sometimes frenzied collective noise. Here he may hold a note or mimic the bubbling keyboards. Whatever he blows it is in tune with Riley; you sense him listening and reacting.

Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector is Riley alone. I'm struck by the 'sacred' opening, as if a service is about to begin - or has ended? I shy away from religious analogies in music, usually, for fear of lending too much weight to something. Having said that, I confess to having 'preached' the virtues of John Coltrane (and countless others) in the past. I may even have said that whilst I worship no recognised (in the religious sense) god, I kneel (metaphorically) before the speakers when playing Ornette Coleman's The Shape Of Jazz To Come which, as I'm sure you know, also happens to feature Don Cherry.

Meanwhile, these two 'sermons' are worthy additions to your collection. It is sometimes hard to focus on sanity and this music, whilst taking you 'away', also has a unique kind of healing force of its own. You can buy it at Soundohm

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