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Dave McMurray: Soul Searching

Jim Santella By

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His soulful saxophone melodies add a contemporary charm to age-old romance. Tap your hands lightly on the backbeat and relax, while Dave McMurray explores the smooth jazz arena with a little help from Bob James, Mark Isham, Chuck Loeb, the Ridgeway Sisters, and others.

"What cha gonna do with my lovin?"
"Tell me now."

Complete with turntable scratches and tightly mixed overdubs, McMurray's session walks the walk and turns on the charm. On tenor, alto and soprano, he's an expressive cat. Everything is in place, and the artist ensures that you get a balanced sound. Wallpaper synths and programmed drum loops round out the picture. McMurray's spot-on saxophone technique and rich tone embrace perfection. Each multi-tracked line serves to enhance. The only trouble is, it's too perfect.

Try tapping your hands lightly on the desk while listening to music. Use both hands. Do your fingertips or fingernails hit the desk at precisely the same moment each time? Of course not. We live in a natural world, where things just happen. Our lives aren't edited and surrounded with synthesized motions. Nor do we ever feel comfortable with synthesizedemotions.

Carefully scripted and precisely mixed, McMurray's session offers a clean look at smooth jazz. His songwriting lends itself to relaxed melodies in a relaxed setting. A tribute to Sonny Rollins and a lovely impression of "Madrid" recall the tradition. However, unlike television and the motion picture industry, we live in a society where precise editing can interfere. One departure from McMurray's formula is his "Ghetto Flute Song," with handclaps that are worked in to resemble a group of people. His flute feature sparkles before a setting that approaches the natural.

Track Listing: Just the Music; On Detroit Time; Cruisin' to the P.M.; What Cha Gonna Do About My Loving; Walk in the Night; 7 Day Love; Nautilus; Soulful Kiss; I Go Wild; Cleo's Mood; Ghetto Flute Song; London Nights; Madrid; Sonny.

Personnel: Dave McMurray- tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute, keyboards, synth programming, loops, drum programming, percussion; Mark Isham- trumpet; Bob James, Luis Resto- keyboards; Chuck Loeb, Wayne Gerrard, Adell "Showboat" Shavers- guitar; Marcus Miller, Al Turner- electric bass; Darrell "Peanut" Smith- electric bass, electric bass samples; Ron Otis, Ken Scott- drums; Larry Fratangelo- percussion; Gloria Ridgeway, Esther Ridgeway, Gracie Ridgeway, Herschell Boone- vocals.

Title: Soul Searching | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Hip-Bop

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