Review : Neneh Cherry - The Cherry Thing ft. The Thing
PopmattersA woman who has appeared, from the outside at least, to control her own destiny and ploughed her own path whilst coming from a wildly eclectic and creative family. Mother Moki is a painter and textile artist, younger brother Eagle-Eye is a musician (Save Tomorrow is a brilliant record), stepsister Jan is a violinist, and stepbrother David Ornette Cherry is (and if you can’t guess what, with a name like that, there is no hope for you!) a jazz musician. Add in daughter Naima, a photographer, and stepson Marlon, from her marriage to music producer Cameron McVey, who fronts Mattafix, and here is a family seriously engaged with artistic endeavour.
But above all this looms the presence of Neneh’s own stepfather, the legendary jazz musician Don Cherry from whom Neneh took her name. Born in Sweden, the family moved to England, then New York before Neneh, at the age of 14, moved back to London. During this peripatetic period, Neneh would be exposed to a whole slew of incredible jazz musicians who would come by and jam with her stepdad; Ornette Coleman, Pharaoh Sanders, Hamid Drake were just a few she met. Now back in London, Neneh fell into the company of Tessa Pollitt of the Slits. This friendship would eventually lead to Neneh joining the post-punk free-jazz group Rip Rig + Panic which provides a clue to how her musical journey would eventually lead to the collaboration with the Thing.
First though, Neneh would become recognised as one of the foremost female artists of her generation, namely through the release of “Buffalo Stance” and then her trip-hop work with Massive Attack and the monster “7 Seconds” a collaboration with Youssou N’Dour.
After a period with CirKus, a family affair featuring Neneh, Cameron and daughter Tyson, she moved back to her homeland of Sweden and it is here that Neneh has completed her circle with the release of The Cherry Thing....full text
GuardianLong before Buffalo Stance and Manchild, before Neneh Cherry was a star in her own right, she was a member of Rip Rig & Panic, the free-spirited jazz-punk troupe whose sensibility she evokes on her first album since 1996. Recorded with Scandinavian trio the Thing, it is an eight-track set comprising mostly covers, from rapper MF Doom's Accordion to her late father Don Cherry's Golden Heart. The standout, though, is Suicide's Dream Baby Dream, which, much like Cherry's version of the Stooges' Dirt, is turned into a masterclass in controlled chaos....full text
MusicomhNeneh Cherry has never been an artist to comply with conformity. This is a woman who dipped her toes in punk acts The Slits and Rip Rig + Panic before bouncing around on the Top Of The Pops studio stage in 1988, seven months pregnant, to sing her breakthrough solo hit Buffalo Stance. Her pregnant belly caused a storm of controversy with the conservatives, but Cherry has mostly made brave, unapologetic choices during her career.
Instead of capitalising on the global success of the sassy fusion of pop and hip hop she unleashed on her groundbreaking debut album Raw Like Sushi, Cherry veered all over the place, experimenting with rock, jazz, hard funk and trip hop on her two subsequent solo records Homebrew and Man. As a result, she probably confused marketing executives at her record label who had little idea how to sustain her audience.
The Swedish-born singer has been sporadically active since the mid 1990s, and instead of continuing her solo career, she has thrived as a collaborator, not just with her collective CirKus, but with several established acts like Gorillaz, Craig Armstrong, Groove Armada and, on the global hit Seven Seconds, with Youssou N'Dour. Her latest release is yet another collaboration, this time with progressive Scanadanavian free jazz trio The Thing, who, like Cherry, reject conformity, and instead have a notoriously punk approach to recording and performing....full text
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