6

David Murray Infinity Quartet: Be My Monster Love

Phil Barnes By

Sign in to view read count
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 of his breadth of inspiration from the gospel of Mahalia Jackson, including his childhood church where he met Sly Stone, through Ellington and Coltrane to Curtis Mayfield and the Roots. It is this blend of influence that makes Be My Monster Love such an attractive proposition—there literally is something here for anyone with an interest in the black music of the last 50 years or so.

Big ticket draw will be the three tracks that jazzman of the moment Gregory Porter has cut—two with lyrics by poet and novelist Ishmael Reed. One of these Reed tracks in particular 'Hope is a Thing with Feathers' is a moving ballad tale of the immigrant experience on 'festering slave ships' lifted into the stratosphere by the unrestrained soul of Porter's Donny Hathaway-esque vocal. That said all three of the Porter contributions would have been among the highlights of any of his three albums to date and have a stronger jazz feel than much of Liquid Spirit.

You can hear another of the Porter tracks "About the Children" below.



The title track also features lyrics by Reed, but in a much lighter vein (sic), drawing a great campy vampiric performance from Macy Gray, who sounds like she rather enjoyed the obsessional lyrical turns of the like of

"Climb in my neck is yours, Suck me until I'm anaemic, Until I can't get out of bed, Until the doctors give me up for dead..."



Murray really brings out the best in his guest vocalists, primarily by staying out of their way, leaving the space to have a conversation between them and the crack band featuring the excellent Nasheet Waits on drums, with Marc Cary and Jaribu Shahid... making fine contributions on piano/organ and bass respectively. The instrumental tracks that punctuate the big name vocal contributions really add to the feel of the collection—building an atmosphere of seeing a small group play in an intimate jazz club that is completely beguiling.

Jazz seems to struggle to crossover these days, but gems such as this are still there to be unearthed—they may not have the media profile of the past but the musical quality and innovation remains. Lets hope that someone out there in the mainstream is listening.

Track Listing: French Kiss For Valerie; Be My Monster Love; Stressology; Army of the Faithful; Sorrow Song; About The Children; The Graduate; Hope Is A Thing With Feathers.

Personnel: David Murray: tenor saxophone; Marc Cary: piano,organ; Jaribu Shahid: bass; Nasheet Waits: drums; Bobby Bradford: cornet (7); Macy Gray: vocals; Gregory Porter: vocals.

Title: Be My Monster Love | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Motema Music


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Triple Double CD/LP/Track Review Triple Double
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 21, 2017
Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read "Which Craft?" CD/LP/Track Review Which Craft?
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 28, 2016
Read "Sunshine! Quartet" CD/LP/Track Review Sunshine! Quartet
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 13, 2017
Read "More Figs And Blue Things" CD/LP/Track Review More Figs And Blue Things
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 3, 2016
Read "Jazzin' Around Christmas" CD/LP/Track Review Jazzin' Around Christmas
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 8, 2016
Read "Juxtaposition" CD/LP/Track Review Juxtaposition
by David A. Orthmann
Published: March 9, 2017
Read "The Long Journey Home" CD/LP/Track Review The Long Journey Home
by James Nadal
Published: March 17, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.