125

Fred Hopkins & Diedre Murray Quartet: Prophecy

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Sadly, the inimitable bassist Fred Hopkins passed away on Thursday, January 7, 1999. Fred Hopkins was one of the busiest bassists in Chicago's creative music scene and often the bassist of choice for countless recording projects with dozens of performers too numerous to cite here. On the recently released Prophecy which was recorded in 1990 we get a glimpse of the much heralded Fred Hopkins/Diedre Murray Quartet. According to Ms. Murray, 'This was the first recording of a quartet that grew out of the Hopkins/Murray duo'.

Diedre Murray along with a handful of other cellists is somewhat of a trailblazer within the vast realm of jazz and improvised music. Together with Fred Hopkins and on this date drummer Newman Baker and guitarist Brandon Ross, the Quartet whirl through complex time signatures along with an array of heterogeneous themes and motifs which is apparent on the opening piece titled, 'Eureka'. Here, Hopkins' arco-bass along with Ms. Murray's earnest and compelling cello performances lead the band through shifting meter via a lineal approach featuring loads of impact, along with nods to Tango and Swing capped off by sharp, ferocious soloing by Ms Murray. Brandon Ross adds a delightfully 'nasty' edge with well stated single note leads, which adhere to the recurring theme. 'Eureka' could be a short story for the aural senses as themes evolve, disappear and resurface in slightly altered states This Quartet maintain an authoritative sense of direction as the music is muscular and hard-hitting yet not without structure and organization!

The title track, 'Prophecy' serves a testament of sorts to the combined performances of Hopkins and Murray as the listener partakes in a mini celebration of hollow wooden stringed instruments. Hopkins and Murray combine dark, resonant tonalities, which at various times can be atmospheric, stark, diffusive or ethereal. On this piece, drummer Newman Baker, implements clever fills behind Murray and Hopkins as he injects a smidgen of wisdom by counterbalancing the almost daunting and ominous themes. 'Doo-Wop II' commences with a swinging yet bluesy feel led by guitarist Brandon Ross' simply stated and somewhat relaxed single note leads. Ever the stylist or perhaps individualist, Ross possesses a signature sound via angular phrasing and twisted, ringing notes while often executing dissonant tonalities into the melody lines.

Prophecy is a wonderfully exciting recording from this once great band. Besides the abundance of twists, turns and surprises ' there are many cohesive elements to this music, which at times borders rock, free jazz and blues; hence, descriptions are difficult. Trying to categorize this music is a daunting task so with that stated, you'll have to hear for yourself. Highly Recommended * * * * '

Personnel: Fred Hopkins; Bass: Diedre Murray; Cello: Newman Baker; Drums: Brandon Ross; Guitar.

About-Time website: www.about-time-records.com

| Record Label: About-Time | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Josh At Midnight" CD/LP/Track Review Josh At Midnight
by James Nadal
Published: July 19, 2016
Read "Chasing Shadows" CD/LP/Track Review Chasing Shadows
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: July 8, 2016
Read "District 6" CD/LP/Track Review District 6
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 12, 2016
Read "Special Kay!" CD/LP/Track Review Special Kay!
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 18, 2016
Read "The Evolution Suite" CD/LP/Track Review The Evolution Suite
by Troy Dostert
Published: October 10, 2016
Read "Negative Spaces" CD/LP/Track Review Negative Spaces
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 20, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!