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ALBUM REVIEW

Bryan and the Haggards: Still Alive And Kickin' Down The Walls

Read "Still Alive And Kickin' Down The Walls" reviewed by Dave Wayne

With the music of country music legends Merle Haggard and Bob Wills as a starting point, tenor saxophonist Bryan Murray and his band have been creating fresh, iconoclastic, and somewhat noisy modern jazz for a few years. The Haggards' second CD, Still Alive And Kickin' Down The Walls, picks up where their stunning debut, Pretend It's the End of the World (Hot Cup, 2010), left off. Murray and his band are clearly having a lot of fun with Haggard's music. ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Bryan and the Haggards: Still Alive and Kickin' Down the Walls

Read "Still Alive and Kickin' Down the Walls" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Still Alive and Kickin' Down the Walls is the second foray into an unlikely marriage of free jazz and the Bakersfield, California, country sound of the legendary Merle Haggard, a follow-up to the pairing's raucous honeymoon, Pretend It's the End of the World (Hot Cup Records, 2010). Saxophonist Bryan Murray leads this outfit, a rowdy, rough around the edges quintet comprised of two reeds in front of a guitar-driven rhythm section.Opening with Haggard's “Ramblin' Fever," the music sounds ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Bryan and the Haggards: Pretend It's The End of the World

Read "Pretend It's The End of the World" reviewed by William Carey

Is it too late for a “best of 2010" list? This 2010 release, by Bryan and the Haggards, has made several of these lists; while it would be easy to approach these jazz renditions of Merle Haggard tunes as some sort of novelty, that couldn't be farther from what tenor saxophonist Bryan Murray and his quintet have accomplished with this set of country ditties. The band's namesake, singer/songwriter Merle Haggard, remains a fascinating character in the history ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Bryan and the Haggards: Pretend It's The End of the World

Read "Pretend It's The End of the World" reviewed by Raul d'Gama Rose

The legend of Merle Haggard is probably as large as the life of the folk music star. Only Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash have a larger legend than Haggard. The writer of “Okie from Muskogee" is the star of this album, Pretend It's The End of the World by this ensemble led by tenor saxophonist, Bryan Murray. Haggard's music has always been earnest and soulful and like the best contemporary music, was in fact, somewhat ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Bryan and the Haggards: Pretend It's the End of the World

Read "Pretend It's the End of the World" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Can a saxophone “twang?" If it's a set of music celebrating the sounds of Bakersfield, California's county music legend, Merle Haggard, it had better do just that. And strangely, with Pretend It's the End of the World, by Bryan and the Haggards, the saxophone blowing of altoist Jon Irabagon and the tenorist/leader Bryan Murray find that country twang via drawn out whiny lines, in an odd marriage of the country music's iconic Bakersfield sound with free jazz, in, at times, ...


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