Exotic Sin (Naima Karlsson / Kenichi Iwasa) + Gabriel Bristow – 'Don Cherry’s Ghost Sounds'
The duo of NAIMA KARLSSON and KENICHI IWASA first came together for a performance celebrating the art and music of Karlsson’s grandparents, Moki and Don Cherry, before continuing as an independent unit that still incorporates some of the Cherrys’ instruments as well as their synergetic integration of improvised music with visual art. Preferring the stark contrasts of analog/digital, acoustic/electric, and natural/unnatural sounds, the duo collide piano, trumpet, percussion and two of Don Cherry’s “zen saxophones”, (woodwinds handmade by attaching reed mouthpieces to plastic plumbing parts), with loops, sampling, and anachronistic ’90s keyboards.
With such timbral juxtapositions, the spirit of Exotic Sin is reminiscent of a number of leftfield jazz-meets-electronics duos from the 1970s, including Don Cherry’s collaborations with Jon Appleton and Terry Riley, Anthony Braxton’s work with Richard Teitelbaum, and lhan Mimaro lu’s album with Freddie Hubbard, Sing Me a Song of Songmy (Atlantic, 1971).
Kenichi Iwasa is an improviser and multidisciplinary artist, also known for his legendary Krautrock Karaoke night, and collaborations with visual artists and musicians such as Beatrice Dillon, Maxwell Sterling and Linder Sterling.
Naima Karlsson is a musician, visual artist and an archivist/coordinator for the Cherry Estate. She continues to learn and study Don’s compositions and his approach to piano with her uncles, Eagle-Eye and David Ornette Cherry, and with the Mexican pianist Ana Ruiz who collaborated and toured with Don and Moki in 1977
DON CHERRY’S GHOST SOUNDS
Don Cherry’s ghost sounds
a talk by Gabriel Bristow
Speaking about Don Cherry, Miles Davis once said: ‘Anyone can tell that guy’s not a trumpet player—it’s just notes that come out […]’. This crass comment is a counterintuitive route into understanding the revolutionary use of indeterminacy in Cherry’s playing. Drawing on and radicalising the ‘flaws’ found in Miles’ own trumpet technique, Cherry developed a sound that foregrounded breath, playing at the outer edges of intentionality. Listening closely to what Cherry called ‘ghost sounds’ not only sharpens our understanding of his music—it feeds into a fundamental rethinking of the racialised history of the avant-garde.