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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Lyons & Sunny Murray Trio: Jump Up

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Renowned Cecil Taylor trio alumni, alto saxophonist Jimmy Lyons and drummer Sunny Murray reunited in Switzerland and summoned young bass wunderkind John Lindberg for a tour de force captured live at Jazz Festival Willisau in August, 1980. Reissued and remastered, this release highlights the band's unbridled energy and resounding clarity, abetted by the crystalline audio. It sounds like it's fresh out of the box, featuring Lyons operating in tenth gear with his radical free-bop stylizations, paving the way for future expansionism. Lyons' untimely passing in 1986 at the age of 55 left a cavernous hole in progressive jazz. ...

BOOK EXCERPTS

Sunny Murray: On Taking the Leap from One Reality to Another

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[Editor's Note: From a work-in-progress, Going Outside: A Memoir of Free Jazz and the Sixties][Author's Note: Sunny Murray is widely regarded as the preeminent drummer of the free jazz movement. The “Jeanne" mentioned below was Jeanne Phillips. Although there were, to be sure, significant differences--she was black, she worked a forty hour-a-week civil service job and her one bedroom flat on West 10th Street in New York City was no showplace--Jeanne, who was astonishingly astute on matters musical, played very much the mother-figure role for the free jazz musicians that the Baroness Nica de Koenigswarter ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Sunny Murray Trio at The Vortex in London

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Sunny Murray Trio The Vortex London, England September 1, 2009

Two nights in north London with free-jazz drum pioneer Sunny Murray's European Trio was a prospect to set the pulse racing. That expectancy was widely shared, it appeared, as there was standing room only even on the second evening. Murray first found a way to shift beyond his bebop roots to pit a shimmering rhythmic undertow against Cecil Taylor's new thing in 1959, beginning a six-year tenure with the iconoclastic pianist, immortalized on the classic trio date Live at the Cafe Montmartre ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark O'Leary & Sunny Murray: Ode To Albert Ayler

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The digital download-only Ode To Albert Ayler captures gifted Irish guitarist Mark O'Leary improvising with free-jazz and former Albert Ayler and Cecil Taylor drummer Sunny Murray during a 2002 studio session. Here, O'Leary delves into free-form jazz shaded music at the onset of his recording career, prior to his extensive recording projects for Leo Records and other European record labels.

O'Leary gels into various frenzies amid Murray's textural drumming, where the artists perform within the spirit of Ayler's power-packed onslaughts. Throughout these largely, high-impact duets, Murray initiates a swarming rhythmic path by smothering his drum kit ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Sunny Murray: Big Chief

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Sunny Murray Big Chief Eremite Records 2009

American jazzmen have long called Paris something of a second home, due to a perceived promise of more work and cultural acceptance. The lineage in this music can be traced to artists like reed player Sidney Bechet, who called the city home from 1949 until his death and was an early “notable" jazz expatriate. If one could say anything like an exodus occurred, it might have started sometime in the 1950s and lasted through the 1970s--Bud Powell, Kenny Clarke, Art Taylor, Chris Woods, Steve Lacy, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sunny Murray: Sunny Murray

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Sunny Murray illuminates jazz drumming. His open meters and timing set rhythm and pulse on a new and invigorating course. In doing so, he gave jazz drumming a dynamism and drive that still resonates.

In the early days of his career, Murray played with Jackie McLean, Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler. This gave him the opportunity to open out and transcend the ordinary, a trait that is seen to advantage on this record which was first released in 1966.

The music is intense, but it is also passionate. “Phase 1.2.3.4" rises from the eddying pools churned ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sunny Murray Trio with John Edwards and Tony Bevan: The Gearbox Explodes!

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Released under the titular leadership of drummer Sunny Murray, The Gearbox Explodes! features the same line-up as Home Cooking In The UK (Foghorn Records, 2004), and is in practice another exercise in collective music making of the purest and least hierarchical kind. Murray's leadership is confined to establishing an opening tempo and beat for each of the three tracks, and, later, bringing them to a close.

Music so wholly unpremeditated and in-the-moment as this requires listening musicianship of the highest degree, and courage on the part of its creators. The analogy has probably been used before, ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Sunny Murray, Assif Tsahar & Shmil Frenkel at Levontin 7, Tel Aviv

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Sunny Murray, Assif Tsahar & Shmil Frenkel Levontin 7 Tel Aviv, Israel June 11, 2007

Israeli saxophonist Assif Tsahar could have not find a better way to celebrate his birthday: a concert with one of the forefathers of free and modern jazz, American and Paris-based drummer Sunny Murray, with whom he recorded the beautiful Live at the Fundacio Juan Miro (Hopscotch Records, 2003) with the late bassist Peter Kowald, months before his premature death. The small underground hall of Levontin 7 with its familiar and appreciative audience provided a perfect ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sunny Murray/John Edwards/Tony Bevan: Home Cooking in the UK

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The overall loose and disjointed rhythms of free jazz can, at least in part, be traced back to Sunny Murray's innovations of the late '50s and early '60s. Having worked with men like Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, and Albert Ayler, Murray found a cadence to match the wide, wild, and multi-dimensional aspects of these free-jazzers. Of course, imitators and copycats being who they are, Murray's techniques are often borrowed and duplicated, some better than others. As heard on Home Cooking in the UK, the original remains littered with subtleties and details most miss.

Joining Murray on this live, three-song set ...

INTERVIEWS

Sunny Murray

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Drummer, composer, and bandleader Sunny Murray was born in Idabel, Okla. in 1936. After moving to New York, a brief period of involvement with bebop musicians quickly gave way to several years of playing with Cecil Taylor (CT) in trio, quartet, quintet and septet settings (1959-1965). In addition to his longstanding association with the “88 Tuned Drums" of Taylor, he has worked with some of the most important voices on the saxophone in free jazz: Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, Byard Lancaster, Kenneth Terroade, Frank Lowe, and recently Sabir Mateen and Assif Tsahar. Murray's pan-rhythmic approach, effortlessly swinging in often implied ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Arthur Doyle & Sunny Murray: Live at the Glenn Miller Caf

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Arguably more able to engender polemical reaction than any other living saxophonist, Arthur Doyle stands noticeably apart in the free jazz canon (if there can rightfully be considered such a thing). A pariah to some, a prophet to others, he approaches his instruments in manner that makes the term ‘idiosyncratic’ seem painfully inept. His sound and phrasing are such to elicit immediate opinion. A fellow saxophone iconoclast Charles Gayle works on an analogous level, but even his detractors have been want to admit his ability on the horn. Not so with Doyle. The press has routinely lambasted him as a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sunny Murray/Sabir Mateen: We Are Not At The Opera

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In the company of musicians like Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler, Sunny Murray invented free jazz drumming. In return, he was long ignored by the American listening public. Though he now lives in Paris, Murray still makes occasional visits to the States. We Are Not At The Opera documents one of these visits. Throughout this hour-long summer '98 session with Sabir Mateen at the Unitarian Meeting House in Amherst, Murray shows he hasn't lost the touch. Though polyrhythm and texture form the foundation of most of his work, he still manages to power through some vividly colorful expressionist moments.

In ...



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