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Saxophonist David Murray is arguably the most recorded jazz musician in history. In the last ten years alone he has released over thirty albums. During the course of his thirty-year career, Murray has played bebop, Latin jazz, swing, world music and free jazz, performing in almost every configuration imaginablesolo, duo, trio, quartet, quintet, octet and big band.
Waltz Again is a strings project with a Murray twist: a quartet with familiar associates (Hamid Drake, Jaribu Shahid, Lafayette Gilchrist) plus a ten-piece string section handpicked from the Havana Philharmonic. Waltz Again begins with "Pushkin Suite #1," divided into seven parts and running a total of 26 minutes in length, shifting from being a near-classical piece to straight-ahead jazz and back again. This ambitious undertaking seldom lets up in its high energy.
With its intricate changes, funky backbeat and spirited solos from bassist Shahid and pianist Gilchrist, "Dark Secret" would not be out of place as a Yellowjackets tune. It is the most satisfying track on the recording. Things come down a few notches in intensity on "Steps," a lovely ballad. Overall this is a dark and intensely moody project with one long, energetic solo after another from Murray. Indeed, Waltz Again can become a quickly wearying experience if swallowed whole. Its beauty is best appreciated when listened to with a breather between each track.
Track Listing: Pushkin Suite #1; Waltz Again; Dark Secret; Steps; Sparkle.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.