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David Murray: Speaking in Tongues

Robert Spencer By

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Devil music? This disc contains the inscription: "There has always existed a fear throughout African American churches that jazz music was some kind of devil's music." But not on this one, friends. Teamed with the powerful vocalist Fontella Bass and organist Jimane Nelson, master reedman David Murray creates here a shouting, rollicking, joyful gospel jazzfest. It even features "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen, "Amazing Grace," "Blessed Assurance," "A Closer Walk with Thee."

Well, Murray plays with all his customary fire, and thus validates the old postulate that the sturm und drang of the "free" music of the Sixties was born in the sanctified emotions of black gospel music. Whatever the case, Murray hasn't sounded this enthusiastic for some time, and his approach certainly fits in here.

There's a chunky, large sound here, courtesy not only of the organ and Murray but also trumpeter Hugh Ragin, guitarist Stanley Franks, and the rhythm men. It's all fervent music, perhaps not that will appeal to all straight-ahead jazz fans, but Murray has an abundance of great moments.


Title: Speaking In Tongues | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Cristal Records


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