don cherry mu (BYG/True North) Rating: NNNN
It's hard to say what's more surprising, that Canuck folk label True North has the rights to legendary free jazz imprint BYG/Actuel or that their first reissue is this groundbreaking session by Don Cherry. Recorded in 1969, mu -- an album-long duet with drummer Ed Blackwell split into two parts -- captures the pocket trumpeter at his most expansive. As Blackwell splits his roiling percussion between a sparse kit, a log and some bells, Cherry digs even deeper, moving from cornet and flute to piano, wooden flute, tinkling percussion and even occasionally singing. It's proto world music, free jazz mixed with Indian classical music, North African folk songs and European classical music, and even if this reissue sounds like it was lifted from a dusty album rather than the original tapes, it's still a classic.