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*** DAVID ORNETTE CHERRY, "The End of a Century," Tonga Productions

May 23, 1999|DON HECKMAN

Cherry, the son of the late trumpeter Don Cherry, was born in 1958, the year his father and Ornette Coleman recorded their first album. And the title of the younger Cherry's first solo project (as well as its rap-jazz title piece) no doubt intentionally echo the intent of a somewhat later Coleman-Cherry recording, "Change of the Century."

Although he has included two Coleman pieces ("The Memory of Things" and "From Top to Bottom"), the album is oriented much more strongly in the direction of the eclectic, world music combinations his father pursued in the years immediately before his death in 1995. "Multi-kulti" was the elder Cherry's description, and it applies here, as well. Working with an impressive array of Los Angeles talent--trombonist Phil Ranelin, saxophonist Ralph "Buzzy" Jones, bassist Roberto Miranda and cornetist Bobby Bradford, among others--keyboardist Cherry produces music that alternates improvisational edginess and unusually textured ensemble sounds with attractive melodies and surging, world music-tinged rhythms. More than an extension of his father's (or Coleman's) goals, the album introduces an intriguing and imaginative new talent.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to four (excellent).

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