Don Cherry :: It Is Not My Music (Swedish TV Documentary, 1978)

As a followup to last year’s phenomenal Don Cherry archival releases and book via Blank Forms, check out Det Är Inte Min Music (It Is Not My Music), a remarkable 1978 doc on the musician made by Swedish filmmaker Urban Lasson. Over the course of about an hour, we follow Don, his partner Moki and their kids from the pastoral Swedish countryside to the decidedly un-pastoral urban landscape of late-seventies NYC. No matter where he goes, Cherry’s inquisitive, imaginative spirit is an inspiration (even if he was struggling with a heroin addiction at the time). Lasson’s footage is frequently astonishing, whether it’s Cherry communing with birds in the forest or making beautiful music on a stoop in Harlem. Best of all is an extended sequence featuring Don, drummer Rashied Ali and guitarist James “Blood” Ulmer at Ali’s Alley — a trio for the ages, following the sound wherever it takes them. | t wilcox

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