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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Murray Infinity Quartet: Be My Monster Love

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If jazz is ever to escape from the “specialist" ghetto in which it finds itself in 2013 the simple truth is that we need more people with the vision of David Murray and more records as good as this one. Murray has a long and distinguished jazz career on tenor sax that began in the NYC Loft Scene of the 1970s--taking in my personal favourite octet recordings of the likes of Ming and Home on Black Saint in the 1980s, right up to this soulful home run of a collection. In a recent Jazzwise interview Murray spoke eloquently ...

LIVE REVIEWS

SubCulture, Grand Opening

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The art of recording has changed music, more so in the information age. Nevertheless, it seems consensus in New York: jazz sounds better live. SubCulture is a new performance space in the district of Manhattan that is called “NoHo." The building is located at 45 Bleecker Street right in front of a stop for the B, D, F, M and 6 trains. The recommended drink as per space owner, Marc Kaplan is the Liberty School cabernet and a semi-local brew, the Greenport seasonal ale. The suggestion of spirits is valuable coming from a man whose spot features a musical menu ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Murray Infinity Quartet: Be My Monster Love

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Tenor man David Murray is considered to be one of the most prolific and innovative players and composers of the last 40 years.Not only has he distinguished himself as an inventive leader of the avant-garde movement, he has become a veritable Renaissance man just based on the myriad of projects he has undertaken in the last few years. He composed and performed music for a tribute held in London for Emory Douglas, the legendary illustrator for The Black Panther publications, and he also collaborated with Afro-Cuban musicians to perform Nat “King" Cole's Spanish songs. That's in addition to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Murray Cuban Ensemble: Plays Nat King Cole En Espanol

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Latin music has culturally been intended for dancing and romancing. Any Latin singer or orchestra worth a cover charge has known this, and David Murray the innovative saxophonist absorbing the role of conductor/arranger on Plays Nat King Cole En Español, demonstrates this concept perfectly. In taking on a project that updates the recordings Nat King Cole did in Spanish and Portuguese in 1958 and 1962, Murray maintains the genuine savor of the original compositions, while broadening them to assimilate contemporary improvisation. The crowded dance floors during the golden age of the mambo and cha ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Murray and the Gwo ka Masters: The Devil Tried To Kill Me

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This global block party, by saxophonist David Murray, blends ebullient African- rhythms with funk and jazz, brought by a fiery band that integrates two Gwo ka masters (Guadalupean drummers/vocalists), some sassy urban soul from pianist/vocalist Sista Kee, and the world renowned blues voice of Taj Mahal. The Devil Tried To Kill Me is Murray's third release with the Gwo ka Masters, following 2004's well received Gwotet (Justin Time), a recording that also featured avant-garde icon, saxophonist Pharoah Sanders. Recorded in Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadalupe's largest city, the recording is an emphatic celebration of the island's proud past and compelling ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Murray & Mal Waldron: Silence

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David Murray (tenor saxophone, bass clarinet) and Mal Waldron (piano) recorded this album in Brussels in 1991. Waldron passed away in 2002, leaving Siilence  as a strong testimony to his art and skill.

The natural co-relation between Murray and Waldron characterizes the music. They construct skilled structures with the melody, essaying it with agile improvisation. Once that standard has been established, they create a sphere that embodies their sense of adventure.

Murray plays the bass clarinet on "Free For C.T.," showing just why he is such a compulsive force on the instrument. He gives ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

David Murray: 3D Family & Sacred Ground

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David Murray 3D Family hatOLOGY 2007 David Murray Sacred Ground Justin Time 2007

Cut in 1976 and released the following year, Flowers For Albert, David Murray's thunderclap of a debut as a leader, left little doubt that the next heavyweight champion of the tenor had arrived. Careening with unsettling assurance between tight romantic swing and screaming, shrieking free--Ben Webster one moment, Ayler the next--Murray, 21 at the time, seemed to spring ...

ARTIST PROFILES

David Murray: Black Saint

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The most widely recorded saxophonist of his generation, David Murray's brawny tenor has been heard in a dizzying array of configurations: solo recitals, piano-less trios, duets with pianists and drummers; with the World Saxophone Quartet and his own quintets, sextets and octets; fronting big bands and orchestras with string sections and Afro-Cuban percussion ensembles; in the company of poets, singers and dancers and guitarists from James Blood Ulmer to Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead; and most recently with the Gwo-ka Masters of Guadeloupe. But these days the veteran avant-gardist has settled into that most traditional of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Murray Black Saint Quartet: Sacred Ground

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With three decades of recording to his credit, multi-reedist and composer David Murray's oeuvre is a varied one; his dabbling in pan-global multi-ethnic fusions and ensembles has ranged from solo recitals to big bands.

Murray's tenth album for Justin Time Records, Sacred Ground is inspired by his recent film soundtrack for Marco Williams' Banished, which documents the rarely discussed expulsion of thousands of African-American families from their homes at the close of the Civil War through to The Great Depression.

Sacred Ground is the first official recording of Murray's quartet without his long-standing pianist John Hicks, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Murray Trio: 3D Family

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I think of David Murray's long career in two phases: before and after Ming (Black Saint, 1980), the breakthrough album that signalled a substantial jump in maturity as well as a move toward jazz's musical center. But such a division betrays my age. From the distance of nearly thirty years, it's obvious that much of the “early" Murray--the pinnacle of which was Flowers for Albert (India Navigation, 1976)--could be heard in the “later" Murray. This includes notably the dizzying marriage of hummable tunefulness and squeaking abstraction that led so many listeners to detect Albert Ayler in Murray's genealogy.

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Waltz Again; Solitude

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David Murray 4tet & Strings Waltz Again Justin Time 2005

Because he has been so prolific, David Murray's greatest challenge has been facing up to his own recorded legacy. But recording with strings is as much a rite of passage for tenor players as recording “Body and Soul, and since Murray has already done that, strings were one of the few things left. Opening with the sprawling 26-minute “Pushkin Suite, the ambitious work is carried along by its various movements and virtuosic playing. Murray, pianist Lafayette Gilchrist, bassist Jaribu Shahid and drummer ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Murray 4tet & Strings: Waltz Again

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Saxophonist David Murray is arguably the most recorded jazz musician in history. In the last ten years alone he has released over thirty albums. During the course of his thirty-year career, Murray has played bebop, Latin jazz, swing, world music and free jazz, performing in almost every configuration imaginable--solo, duo, trio, quartet, quintet, octet and big band.

Waltz Again is a strings project with a Murray twist: a quartet with familiar associates (Hamid Drake, Jaribu Shahid, Lafayette Gilchrist) plus a ten-piece string section handpicked from the Havana Philharmonic. Waltz Again begins with “Pushkin Suite #1," divided into seven parts and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Murray 4Tet & Strings: Waltz Again

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Waltz Again begins with a thick squall of strings and hyper-Ayler sax wailings, laying down a warning. The strings in this recording will not sit still as a plush backing for treacly balladeering, but will instead bob and weave in constant interplay with the quartet. And when the true ballads come, their beauty gleams off the frenzy that passed before and will rage after.After the squall there is mourning, a swirling dirge of violins that would have Bernard Herrmann sneak a nod of approval. Obsessive and insistent, one envisions a paranoid protagonist bemoaning those voices in his head. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kahil El'Zabar & David Murray: We Is: Live at the Bop Shop

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In the last few years we have become accustomed to hearing saxophonist David Murray playing with an agenda, especially since he began recording for the Canadian Justin Time label in 1996. With Justin Time Murray has released conceptual albums, either as a leader or as a member of the World Saxophone Quartet, that include tributes to John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Jimi Hendrix, or pursued side projects with music from Senegal and Guadeloupe. I miss the hard-blowing Murray who plays just for fun.

Chicagoan percussionist and drummer Kahil El'Zabar, founding member of of the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble and ...



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