The latest batch of announcements for the upcoming EFG London Jazz Festival include something exciting for fans of Don Cherry. Veteran Chicago jazz group the Kahil El Zabar Ethnic Heritage Ensemble will be leading a tribute to the life and work of the late, legendary trumpeter.
The Ensemble, which includes Corey Wilkes and Alex Harding alongside Zabar, has enlisted some impressive participants for the event. In addition to singer Dwight Trible, known for his work with Pharoah Sanders, members of Cherry’s mightily talented family will be on board to honor the man. His daughter Neneh Cherry, her daughter Naima Karlsson, and the trumpeter’s son, keyboardist David Ornette Cherry, among others, will turn out to do right by the jazz giant.
David’s middle name is in honor of Ornette Coleman, the avant-jazz genius who was probably Cherry’s most famous collaborator. But in addition to his game-changing work with Coleman in the 50s and 60s, Cherry played with a long list of jazz trailblazers over the years, including Sun Ra, Albert Ayler, and Carla Bley, as well as occasionally crossing over to work with rockers like Lou Reed and Steve Hillage. And Cherry’s solo discography alone would earn him a place in jazz history, with its blend of experimentalism and international influences.
The event is happening in conjunction with a Cherry tribute album due out this fall on the Spiritmuse label. The festival roster also includes appearances by an international lineup of jazz greats including Courtney Pine, Makaya McCraven, Abdullah Ibrahim, and Chucho Valdes, to name only a few.
It’s the festival’s 30th year, so there are plenty of special things planned for its November 11-20 run. This event joins the first wave of acts announced, including Abdullah Ibrahim, Melody Gardot, Jan Garbarek Group, Dianne Reeves, Makaya McCraven, Fatoumata Diawara, Lady Blackbird, Melanie Charles, Ron Carter, Emma-Jean Thackray, Henry Threadgill, and Anthony Braxton.