You always think you have more time. That’s what I thought when I hit a snag in scheduling an interview with David Ornette Cherry. I was shocked to learn he died on November 20th 2022 in London from after an asthma attack. David had been traveling a great deal in Europe where he’s celebrated as the fine contemporary jazz composer that he is. He had a new album of work out and was performing concerts. I often featured his music on Stage and Studio podcasts that had no relation to him. I just loved his music. We also collaborated on two of my short films for MediaRites during the pandemic. David was one of the sweetest artists I’ve encountered in my career and so talented. I interviewed him in 2017 in a joyous conversation as we listened through his music and he told the story of the jazz greats he was named after. Ornette Colemen and his father Don Cherry. One last time. Here’s David Ornette Cherry.  

Pianist and composer David Ornette Cherry, son of legendary jazz trumpeter Don Cherry, salutes his father’s works along with new works of his own. The award-winning Cherry grew up in Watts, and his music is an artful combination of jazz, classical, African, and world music. His noted collaborations include Don Cherry, Ed Blackwell, Charlie Haden, Billy Higgins, Dewey Redman, Phil Ranelin, and Justo Almario, Thara Memory, Glenn Moore, Carlton Jackson, Kamau Daaood, and the Watts Prophet.

David was born the same year Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry recorded their first album, SOMETHIN ELSE. The ambient music streaming through his childhood was generated by the early collaborations of his dad, Don Cherry, with Coleman and the musicians who visited his parents’ Mariposa Avenue home in Los Angeles.

However, it was a wood-chopping accident one summer in Sweden that sealed David’s musical fate as he was confined to music study and later performing with his Dad at the age of sixteen years old.

Hear his music and see his videos:

David Ornette Cherry performing his newest work

Discography includes: 

New Album:

SPIRIT GATHERER • Tribute to Don Cherry
ft Dwight Trible & David Ornette Cherry
Listen • Preorder here:


It Could Be Different brings his keyboard and soundscape magic to a fresh range of grooves and compositions, featuring the multi-talented Cherry Family along with some of his collaborators in the jazz and world music scene.

It Ensemble for Improvisors – Live/Los Angelescomposed with the idea that all exist in a world of harmonies which mirror life evolving away from the chaotic (to the positive).

Enter-Net David merges the African rhythms and drumming he grew up with in Watts (“African Nights”) with straight up dub (“Serious Dubbing”)

The Hillsboro StoryIn a masterful collection of sounds and compositions, David Ornette Cherry’s The Hillsboro Story captures the place, the drama, the characters, the two worlds, and the moods of those edgy times.

Organic Journey- marks the fifth and final CD in David Ornette Cherry’s “Organic” series, recordings that have spliced together David’s musical roots and the new branchings he continues to explore.

Organic Express: Back to the Electronic Garage marks David Ornette Cherry’s return home from a decade-long musical journey. Back to the Electronic Garage expresses David’s deep reconnection with his musical beginnings, the Watts garage where he began delving into music and finding his voice.

Cherry Jam: Open Mic is a spoken word project featuring writers performing their work on an open microphone. Contributing artists include: Susan Banyas, George Carrington, Leanne Grabel, Paul Harris, Renee Mitchell, Alena Vance, Terry Wolverton and David Ornette Cherry.

Organic Roots comprises an intricate musical rhizome, an offspring bred by recollection and innovation. The global rhizosphere in which these seeds germinated was warmed by light shining from his father Don Cherry, who created a true world music before the phrase existed.

Organic Groove is David Ornette Cherry’s musical journey grounded in jazz seasoned with textures from far and near – touching a bit of the city, mood of the village and the world where spirit dominates the heartbeat.

Ensemble for improvisors is the brainchild of David Ornette Cherry featuring the unique creative collaboration of David on acoustic piano; Billy Higgins, drums; Justo Almario, reeds; Roberto Miranda, acoustic bass; and Jon Williams, trumpet.