Lo and behold, it’s Neneh Cherry, the Swedish-African stepdaughter of avant-jazz trumpeter Don Cherry, who was a cut-and-paste hip-hop polyglot pop star for a minute there two decades ago with her 1989 Raw Like Sushi and equally good 1991 album Homebrew. Cherry has largely flown under the radar ever since, but on That Cherry Thing (Smalltown Supersound *** ½), she re-emerges backed by Scandinavian free jazz trio The Thing, named after one of her stepfather’s songs.
Cherry wrote only one Cherry Thing tune, the lead cut “Cashback” which, with ample justification, boasts “I’m built to last.” The Thing, showcasing aggressively honking sax man Mat Gustafson, conjure a chaotic, cacophonous and frequently beautiful sonic swirl. And Cherry uses a wide range of inspired source material - including Suicide’s “Dream Baby Dream,” rapper MF Doom’s “Accordion,” The Stooges’ “Dirt,” Martine Topley-Bird’s “Too Tough To Die” and Ornette Coleman’s ”What Reason” – to make gritty, playful, life-affirming art all her own.
"Dream Baby Dream" is below.