Sarah Parker Remond Centre


Gabriel Bristow

Project: Don Cherry’s life and music

Don Cherry
Year of start: 2019
Supervisors: Prof Paul Gilroy (principal) and Dr Daniel Matlin, KCL (subsidiary)

PhD Research: My research is focused on Don Cherry (1936-1995), a multi-instrumentalist best known as a jazz trumpeter. In my thesis I trace the arc of his music across the 1960s-1970s—from the birth of ‘free jazz’ to experiments in ‘world music’ avant la lettre—attempting to understand it in relation to the social, cultural, and political shifts of the period. More than a missing piece of the historical puzzle that stands for nothing but its own particular truth, Cherry’s music shines a thin ‘beam of lyrical sound’ onto world history (Ralph Ellison). Or to put it in Theodor Adorno’s words: ‘Objective is the fractured landscape, subjective: the only light in which it glows.’

Research Interests:
Music, cultural history, critical theory, black studies, marxism, poetry

John Tchicai's Metal Poems, Point of Departure, 2021
Once Upon A Time In Watts, The Wire, 2021
On Free Jazz Communism, Social Text, 2020
Don Cherry: un film improvisé, La Revue Documentaires, 2021

'The Meaning of Attica' by Val Wilmer, Blank Forms, 2022

Honours, Awards & Funding:
LAHP funded