205

David Murray 4Tet & Strings: Waltz Again

By

Sign in to view read count
David Murray 4Tet & Strings: Waltz Again Waltz Again begins with a thick squall of strings and hyper-Ayler sax wailings, laying down a warning. The strings in this recording will not sit still as a plush backing for treacly balladeering, but will instead bob and weave in constant interplay with the quartet. And when the true ballads come, their beauty gleams off the frenzy that passed before and will rage after.

After the squall there is mourning, a swirling dirge of violins that would have Bernard Herrmann sneak a nod of approval. Obsessive and insistent, one envisions a paranoid protagonist bemoaning those voices in his head. That voice, I suppose, would be of Pushkin, and of the works that Murray namechecks for each movement of his "Pushkin Suite #1."

That bracing opening is entitled "Blackamoor of Peter the Great," after Pushkin's unfinished romance about his African great-grandfather, Ibrahim Petrovich Gannibal. A slave who rose to become a prominent member of Empress Elizabeth's court, the story fictionalizes the youth's assimilation to Russian society—and those seesawing strings and oft-times lyrical clarinet and sax stabs offer a rich portrait of angsty yearning. But comparisons should cease there, as Murray takes the music to levels no narrative could track—the bliss of the sax phrases briefly jiving with the string melodies before breaking it all down again, words can't describe. Then again... a poem by Pushkin equals Murray's Ben Webstering a quivering heart on the floor love ballad. The Russian declaims:

I loved you, and I probably still do,

And for a while the feeling may remain...

But let my love no longer trouble you,

I do not wish to cause you any pain.

I loved you; and the hopelessness I knew,

The jealousy, the shyness—though in vain—

Made up a love so tender and so true

As may God grant you to be loved again.


That man knew the blues. He would've loved Murray.

Onward. With "Waltz Again his sax swings on the string swell and manages some intimate asides before they ramp up again, bombastic and affecting, a similar if less adventurous feat achieved earlier this year by Wynton Marsalis in his strings concert. "Dark Secrets continues the richness, with some syncopated rhythm and foot tappin', the strings reaching for the stars in insistent riffs that Murray outdoes with a high-register, laid back insouciance.

"Steps slows it down, way on down, down in those areas that cut off major motor functions. Light some candles. Highlight: on a break he wails and sighs, poutingly imploring his lover to sidle up and make some real noise. All he gets are strings and a bass ostinato. Sublime. "Sparkle is merely capable, the strings sawing a simple theme and Murray jabbing his way around it, eventually settling down into a relaxed, ridiculously swinging lounge act. But a lounge act it remains.

No matter. David Murray has made one of the albums of the year.

Track Listing: Pushkin Suite #1; Waltz Again; Dark Secrets; Steps; Sparkle.

Personnel: David Murray: tenor saxophone; Lafayette Gilchrist: piano; Jaribu Shahid: bass; Hamid Drake: drums; Roman Filiu O' Reilly: conductor; Reynier Guerrero: violin; Ariel R. Sarduy Mendez: violin; Carlos Guarez Moretin: violin; Roman G. Serrano Gillinu: violin; Omario A Fernandez San Andres: violin; Martha A. Saluado Vazquez: viola; Robero Herrora Diaz: viola; Elis R. Ramos Martinez: cello; Alexandro Rodriguez Tirado: cello; Reiner Elizarde Ruano: double bass.

Title: Waltz Again | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Justin Time Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Antidote CD/LP/Track Review Antidote
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 29, 2017
Read The Colours Suite CD/LP/Track Review The Colours Suite
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 29, 2017
Read Musical Journey Through Time CD/LP/Track Review Musical Journey Through Time
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 29, 2017
Read Gentle Giants CD/LP/Track Review Gentle Giants
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 29, 2017
Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read "Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival
by John Sharpe
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "Inner Circle" CD/LP/Track Review Inner Circle
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 30, 2016
Read "Blue And Lonesome" CD/LP/Track Review Blue And Lonesome
by Doug Collette
Published: February 4, 2017
Read "Vanheusenism: A Tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen" CD/LP/Track Review Vanheusenism: A Tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 2, 2016
Read "Invitation" CD/LP/Track Review Invitation
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 8, 2017
Read "This Could Be That" CD/LP/Track Review This Could Be That
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 2, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.