Originally released in the mid-’80s, this intriguing funk-laced album finds the iconic pocket trumpeter navigating through the sonic landscapes that some of his jazz leftist contemporaries such as Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, Joe Bowie’s Defunkt and Ronald Shannon Jackson’s Decoding Society (and Herbie Hancock’ collaborations with Bill Frisell) trafficked. Pan-African grooves mesh with black American asphalt jungle’ electro-hip-hop beats resulting in the post-New Wave music that one could imagine would be playing at a Danceteria party where Jean-Michel Basquiat, Miles Davis, Malcolm McLaren and Grace Jones would be holding court.
Despite the dated brittleness of the sound quality and Cherry’s inchoate (and loony) attempts at rapping, it’s makes for a mildly interesting artifact of its time as pioneering musicians grappled with then-emerging technology, hip-hop culture, and increase musical globalization.
At its best, Home Boy offers a fascinating early version of “Art Deco,” a whimsical instrumental that soon after became the title-track to Cherry’s more-rewarding 1989 LP, which found him reuniting with bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Billy Higgins.
Don Cherry, Home Boy, Sister Out (We Want Sounds, 2018)