Poland / USA, 1977, experimental big band / free jazz / third stream

Penderecki – Don Cherry & The New Eternal Rhythm OrchestraActions: This is a live performance of two sides, Side A the very definition of living, breathing music, alive in the moment, making the air heavy with its suspirations, turning what must have been before a barren festival into a lush garden dripping with beautiful madness. Take a moment. Pause and reflect. Don’t rush on to Side B quite yet. Wander in the deafening silence before proceeding. Keep in mind that this album is not a collaboration; it’s more like a split, since Cherry and Penderecki don’t actually come into contact with each other. An uneasy night falls after the fecund day, and Side B lets the listener know right away that this avant-garde classical piece has little to do with what preceded it. Everything that skitters on chitinous legs makes its way out of its hole and joins a grotesque yet fascinating dance of smashing, whirling genres squaring off and not sure what to do about each other. (By the way, it thrills me to see Tomasz Stańko listed in the credits.)

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