A Fireside Chat with The World Saxophone Quartet
AAJ: Since the departure of Julius Hemphill, the second alto chair has been inconsistent.
DM: You're right, the lead alto in the World Saxophone Quartet is something that vacillates. As far as I'm concerned, I think it needs to continue to vacillate because it is chair that probably will never live up to the guy who invented the chair, Julius Hemphill.
OL: I think every time we got somebody, I thought that was the person. When Arthur Blythe was in the band, I thought that was it. When James Spaulding was in the band, I said that it was great. So I was with every person that got in and was filling that spot.
AAJ: And the chair is currently occupied by?
DM: Bruce Williams. Bruce Williams is on the album.
OL: Actually, I brought him into the World Saxophone Quartet.
AAJ: Have the criticisms of your record production subsided?
DM: During the last ten years of my life, I have personally been on a quest to make sure that every time out, I do something that is completely different than the last and the level of the recording and writing tops the last thing that I did. That is really my concept now and for the rest of my recording career, to really just strive to make that perfect one. I know I have been criticized in the past for doing an abundance of things, but I don't even think that way. Maybe the ego gets in the way, but people always tell me how many things I've done and I'm still pissed off about the things I didn't get an opportunity to do.
AAJ: And the future?
OL: I am about to release a steel quartet recording that will be coming out next month, a new CD from Passin' Thru. In November, we will be doing the Jimi Hendrix project at the Iridium for one week.
DM: The Latin big band, actually, it's a Cuban big band, but these days everybody is so down on Cuba, it is hard to get the distribution on when you say that word. It is really unfair. Wait until the Democrats get back in. I just got back yesterday from Budapest. I did a recording of gypsy music. I wrote a couple of tunes. I had to cram and find out what these gypsies were up to. They've got some beautiful, hip music, I was really astounded by the level of their musicianship. I will begin to tour again with my Gwo-Ka Masters band. I'm keen on doing this Taj Mahal collaboration. Taj is into it. He's a good friend and I've been writing some songs to put in his mouth. I wrote a really great song for him called "Bad Mouth" that really signifies our times. I want to get it recorded. I've got to get The Grateful Dead to do it too. Politically, it is a great song. After the thing with Taj Mahal, I imagine I will do another Cuban big band album and get a little deeper with that.
David Murray by Skip Bolen
Oliver Lake by Ralph Gluch