Organic Music Theatre: Festival de jazz de Chateauvallon 1972

by Don Cherry's New Researches featuring Naná Vasconcelos

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giventofly87
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giventofly87 At one point I was deeply invested in experimental theatre and movement theater and wanting to go further. I loved the sense of immediacy, the boundless creativity those spaces afforded. This music reminds me of those times and that feeling. The sheer improvisational creativity is just staggering. Transcendental is a word too often used, but in this case, it's truly applicable. Favorite track: Butterfly Friend.
Lars Gotrich
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Lars Gotrich Captures a communal spirit of exploration and education. Don Cherry’s at the piano and harmonium, acting more like a cool-but-overly-enthusiastic camp counselor than a bandleader — he leads the audience (at a jazz festival, no less) in chants and singalongs, gathering the spirits in several languages and rhythms, both removing authorship and extending creation. www.vikingschoice.org/archive/teen-improv-brazilian-dub-blown-out-power-pop/ Favorite track: Ganesh.
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  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Due to unprecedented delays in global production, we are anticipating a November 15th release date for two upcoming LPs, Don Cherry’s The Summer House Sessions and Don Cherry’s New Researches featuring Naná Vasconcelos’s Organic Music Theatre – Festival de jazz de Chateauvallon 1972. CD and digital editions have not been impacted.

    2xLP on black vinyl, pressed at RTI and housed in a heavy-duty tip-on gatefold Stoughton jacket.

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Elixir 01:35
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Amazwe 03:44
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Ganesh 05:24
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Resa 05:24
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about

In the late 1960s, the American trumpet player and free jazz pioneer Don Cherry (1936–1995) and the Swedish visual artist and designer Moki Cherry (1943–2009) began a collaboration that imagined an alternative space for creative music, most succinctly expressed in Moki’s aphorism “the stage is home and home is a stage.” By 1972, they had given name to a concept that united Don’s music, Moki’s art, and their family life in rural Tagårp, Sweden into one holistic entity: Organic Music Theatre. Captured here is the historic first Organic Music Theatre performance from the 1972 Festival de jazz de Chateauvallon in the South of France, mastered from tapes recorded during its original live broadcast on public TV. A life-affirming, multicultural patchwork of borrowed tunes suffused with the hallowed aura of Don’s extensive global travels, the performance documents the moment he publicly jettisoned his identity as a jazz musician, and represents the start of his communal “mystical” period, later crystallized in recordings such as Organic Music Society, Relativity Suite, Brown Rice, and the soundtrack for Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain.

The musicians in Don Cherry’s New Researches, hailing from Brazil, Sweden, France, and the US, converged on Chateauvallon from all over Europe. The five-person band—Don and Moki Cherry, Christer Bothén, Gérard “Doudou” Gouirand, and Naná Vasconcelos— performed in an outdoor amphitheater and were joined onstage by a dozen adults and children, including Swedish friends who tagged along for the trip and Det Lilla Circus (The Little Circus), a Danish puppet troupe based in Christiania, Copenhagen. The platform was lined with Moki’s carpets and her handmade, brightly colored tapestries, depicting Indian scales and bearing the words Organic Music Theatre, dressed the stage. As the musicians played, members of Det Lilla, led by Annie Hedvard, danced, sang, and mounted an improvised puppet show on poles high up in the air.

The music in the Chateauvallon concert aspired to a universal language that would bring people together through song. In a fairly unprecedented move, Don abandoned his signature pocket trumpet for the piano and harmonium, thereby liberating his voice as an instrument for shamanic guidance. The show opens with him beckoning the audience to clap their hands and sing the Indian theta “Dha Dhin Na, Dha Tin Na,” and the set cycles through uplifting and sacred tunes of Malian, South African, Brazilian, and Native American provenance—including pieces that would later appear on Don’s albums Organic Music Society and Home Boy (Sister Out)—all punctuated by outbursts of possessed glossolalia from the puppeteers. “Relativity Suite, Part 1” notably spotlights Bothén on donso ngoni, a Malian hunter’s guitar, prior to Vasconcelos taking an extended solo on berimbau. A vortex of wah-like microtonal rattling, Vasconcelos’s masterful demonstration of this single-stringed Brazilian instrument is a harbinger of his work to come as a member, with Don, of the acclaimed group Codona. The sounds of children playing on the ensemble’s achingly tender rendition of Jim Pepper’s oft-covered beacon of spiritual optimism, “Witchi Tai To,” lends the proceedings an especially intimate, domestic glow. Given the context of the star-studded international jazz festival, the concert’s laid back, communal vibe feels like an attempt by the Cherrys to show Don’s jazz audience that he was moving on. At the same time, however, Don was extending a warmhearted invitation for them to come along for the ride.

With liner notes by Magnus Nygren.

credits

released June 18, 2021

Don Cherry (piano, harmonium, tanpura, vocals)
Naná Vasconcelos (berimbau, percussion)
Christer Bothén (donso ngoni, piano, light percussion)
Doudou Gouirand (soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, light percussion)
Moki Cherry (tanpura, vocals)

Annie Hedvard and Det Lilla Cirkus (puppet theater)
Moki Cherry (scenography)

Friends from Tågarp: Marianne Rydvall (additional and unintentional vocals), Craig, and other unknown characters

INA documentation: Marie Jaros INA coordination: Christiane Lemire

INA digitization in high resolution, sound restoration, and mastering of the original tapes: Ian Debeerst

Additional audio restoration and mixing by Robbie Lee

Mastering for vinyl by Kassian Troyer at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin

Thanks to: Christer Bothén, Neneh Cherry, Pierre Crépon, Doudou Gouirand, Naima Karlsson, Merrie Robin Monroe, Patrícia Vasconcelos

Organic Music Societies is supported by Nordic Culture Fund.

Blank Forms Editions is supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

Photographs by Guy Le Querrec
Licensed from Magnum Photos

Design by Alec Mapes-Frances

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Blank Forms Editions Brooklyn, New York

Blank Forms is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting emerging and underrepresented artists working in a range of time-based and interdisciplinary art practices, including experimental music, performance, dance, and sound art. Blank Forms provides artists with curatorial support, residencies, commissions, and publications to help document, disseminate, and advance their practices. ... more

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