Don Cherry Birthday & Fun Facts

Height, Age, Net Worth, Biography & More

Abhijeet Modi
Nov 23, 2023 By Abhijeet Modi
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About Don Cherry

Donald Cherry, born on November 18, 1936, and passed away on October 19, 1995, remains an esteemed name in American jazz history. Renowned as an American jazz trumpeter, Cherry's musical journey began in the late '50s, marked by a tenure of performing in the bands of the legendary saxophonist Ornette Coleman. He showcased his distinctive talents in the 1959 jazz album 'The Shape Of Jazz To Come' and 'Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation' in 1960.

Don Cherry has also collaborated with notable figures in the music world, including Charlie Haden, John Coltrane, Ed Blackwell, Sun Ra, and Albert Ayler. In 1966, Cherry stepped into the spotlight as a bandleader with his debut album 'Complete Communion' and became the pioneer of world fusion music in the '70s, ingeniously blending elements from African, Middle Eastern, and Hindustani traditions. His involvement in the ECM group Codona, alongside Naná Vasconcelos and Collin Walcott, demonstrated his exploration and fusion of diverse musical styles. According to AllMusic, an American online music data, Don Cherry is "one of the most influential jazz musicians of the late 20th century."

Don Cherry: Net Worth, Earnings & Spending Habits

What was Don Cherry’s net worth?

There is no verifiable information regarding Don Cherry's exact net worth at the time of his passing in October 1995.

How much did Don Cherry earn per year?

Specific details about Don Cherry's annual earnings during his career are not publicly available.

Height, Age & Physical Attributes

How tall was Don Cherry?

Information about Don Cherry's height is not publicly available.

How old was Don Cherry?

Don Cherry was born on November 18, 1936, and passed away on October 19, 1995. He was 58 years old at the time of his death.

Childhood And Education

Donald Eugene Cherry was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to a family rooted in musical heritage. His father and mother were both musically inclined, with his mother and grandmother proficient in piano and his father skilled in playing the trumpet. Cherry's father owned the Cherry Blossom Club in Oklahoma City. The club became a notable platform for performances by renowned artists like Charlie Christian and Fletcher Henderson.

Cherry's family relocated in 1940 to Los Angeles, in the Watts neighborhood. His father worked as a bartender at the Plantation Club on Central Avenue, the epicenter of the city's jazz scene at the time. While schooling at Fremont High School, Don Cherry began playing with the swing band at Jefferson High School. He later transferred to Jacob Riis High School, a reform school, where he met the American jazz drummer Billy Higgins, marking the beginning of a significant musical connection.

Family, Romance, And Relationships

Who was Don Cherry’s partner?

Don Cherry was married to Swedish visual artist Moki Cherry. Painter and textile artist Moki Cherry was known for her colorful style, and she collaborated with Don Cherry on various musical projects by playing the tamboura drone. She also worked on album covers and set designs for her husband. The duo met in the '60s when Don Cherry was touring Stockholm with Sonny Rollins.

Don Cherry had two stepdaughters named Nenah Cherry and Titiyo Jah, as well as three sons named Christian Cherry, David Ornette Cherry, and Eagle-Eye Cherry.

Career And Professional Highlights

Best Known For…

Don Cherry's musical journey cut across diverse genres and cultures, establishing him as a trailblazing figure in the jazz and music spheres. In his early days, he collaborated with stars like Art Farmer and saxophonist James Clay in Los Angeles during the '50s.

Cherry rose to prominence in 1958 when he collaborated and performed with Ornette Coleman. Their collaboration birthed groundbreaking recordings and performances, notably in the Atlantic Records' piano-less quartet. During this period, Cherry co-led 'The Avant-Garde', an album session with John Coltrane replacing Coleman in the quartet, alongside other collaborations with star artists like Sonny Rollins, Albert Ayler, and George Russell. Cherry was also a part of the New York Contemporary Five, along with John Tchicai and Archie Shepp.

His debut as a bandleader came in 1965 with the album 'Complete Communion'. Other members of the band are drummer Ed Blackwell, saxophonist Gato Barbieri, and bassist Henry Grimes. Following his departure from Coleman's quartet, Cherry traveled through Europe, India, Morocco, and South Africa, where he played with other musicians. In the late '60s, Don Cherry settled in Tagarp, Sweden, with his wife Moki, where he taught music classes and fostered collaborations.

Don Cherry played the trumpet and other musical instruments for the American poet and writer Allen Ginsberg's 'Songs Of Innocence And Experience', a 1970 long play. Cherry was also featured in Coleman's 1971 album titled 'Science Fiction'. From 1976-1987, he worked with Charlie Haden, Dewey Redman, and Blackwell in an American jazz band named Old And New Dreams.

In the '70s, Cherry played world fusion music, blending cultures from Middle Eastern, traditional African, and Indian music. He studied Indian music with Vasant Rai and collaborated with the free jazz and world fusion band Codona, producing three albums.

In 1971, Don Cherry played with the Polish composer and conductor Krzysztof Penderecki on the live album titled 'Actions'. In 1973, he co-composed music for the Mexican surreal film 'The Holy Mountain'. In 1982, Don Cherry released the duet album 'El Corazon', where he collaborated with Ed Blackwell. He also released 'Home Boy (Sister Out)' and 'Art Deco' in 1985 and 1998 respectively. Don Cherry joined the Ornette Coleman Quartet to record the double album 'In All Languages'.

In 1994, Cherry contributed to the Red Hot Organization's compilation CD titled 'Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool', meant to raise AIDS awareness. The American news magazine Time named the same album the Album of the Year.

Charity Work

Don Cherry collaborated with Red Hot Organization on a compilation CD 'Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool' in 1994. He worked on the track titled 'Apprehension' aimed at raising awareness about the AIDS epidemic.

What awards did Don Cherrywin?

In 2011, Don Cherry was inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.

Other Interesting Don Cherry Facts And Trivia

  • In 1955, Don Cherry had his first hit single titled 'Band of Gold', reaching number 5 on the Billboard chart and selling over a million copies. This track was featured in an episode of the 2007 AMC's drama series 'Mad Men'.
  • Don Cherry's children are also musicians.
  • He learned to play diverse brass musical instruments in high school. As a musician, Don Cherry played the pocket trumpet, cornet, trumpet, bugle, flugelhorn, and doussn'gouni.
  • He also collected non-Western instruments, including bamboo flutes, berimbau, and assorted percussion instruments.


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Don Cherry Birthday & Fun Facts Facts

Birth Name

Donald Eugene Cherry

Date of Birth


Date of Death




Place of Birth

Oklahoma City


180 cm

Child Star?



Musician, Jazz trumpeter, Instrumentalist


Jacob Riis High School

Net Worth



Moki Cherry


Delmar Cherry, Maude Cherry


Dick Cherry

Annual Earnings

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Written by Abhijeet Modi

Master of Computer Science

Abhijeet Modi picture

Abhijeet ModiMaster of Computer Science

An experienced and innovative entrepreneur and creative writer, Abhijeet holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Computer Application from Birla Institute of Technology, Jaipur. He co-founded an e-commerce website while developing his skills in content writing, making him an expert in creating blog posts, website content, product descriptions, landing pages, and editing articles. Passionate about pushing his limits, Abhijeet brings both technical expertise and creative flair to his work.

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