Revisiting Don Cherry’s Brown Rice 

Source: The Quietus.

In 1975 trumpeter Don Cherry gathered some of his most trusted collaborators for sessions in New York City and Woodstock to record Brown Rice, capturing a brilliantly distilled vision of the wide-open global explorations he’d been pursuing for nearly a decade. At the time the album’s free-flowing syncretism was radical, its holistic embrace of ideas from around the planet conceptually audacious (if not a bit convoluted, on paper, at least). Saxophonist Frank Lowe’s impassioned brays injected blues cries in the churning yet ethereal ecumenical funk of the title track, while bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Billy Higgins (the trumpeter’s early band mates in the Coleman quartet) extended time and space with limber grace over the tambura drones of Moki on the band’s loose-limbed adaptation of the ancient Indian raga ‘Malkauns’. Cherry transformed the rigorous improvisational ethos he developed and deployed alongside Ornette Coleman in the creation of free jazz as a crucial tool to communicate and collaborate with musicians far outside of his original milieu.