Reviews that mention David Murray

December 16, 2015

Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris

Possible Universe
NBR SA Jazz 014

Satoko Fujii Orchestra Berlin

Ichigo Ichie

Libra Records 212 037

Circum Grand Orchestra

12

Circum-Disc CD 1401

Orcheatra Senza Confini/Orkester Brez Meja

Orcheatra Senza Confini/Orkester Brez Meja

Dobialabel

Bertrand Denzler/Onceim

Morph

Confront ccs 37

Something In The Air: Big Bands Redux

By Ken Waxman

Although most people associate big bands with the Swing Era dances and later, jazzier, manifestations such as Nimmons’n’Nine and The Boss Brass, despite the dearth of venues and difficulties of keeping even a combo working steadily, musicians persist in utilizing large ensembles. Like muralists who prefer the magnitude of a large canvas, composers, arrangers and players appreciate the colours and breath available using numerous, well-balanced instruments. MORE

May 7, 2015

Encore

Hugh Ragin
By Ken Waxman

For trumpeter Hugh Ragin, 64, the touchstones of his long career have been performing, teaching and pivoting. Considering that as part of what he describes as his “360 degree musicianship”, over the years the trumpeter has been a member of bands led by the likes of Roscoe Mitchell and Maynard Ferguson; that Ragin has taught at locations ranging from Colorado secondary schools, Ohio’s Oberlin and the University of California San Diego jazz camp, the first two are obvious. Swiftly moving or “pivoting” from one part of the country to the other and from one genre to the other though, is how he has kept his career lively during those years. And he’s done this all while remaining based in Aurora, Colorado, a Denver suburb, where he moved in the mid-‘70s.while studying for his masters in trumpet performance MORE

July 16, 2012

Jamaaladeen Tacuma/David Murray

Rendezvous Suite
JazzWerkstatt JW 095

Tommy Vig Orchestra 2012 featuring David Murray

Welcome to Hungary!

Klasszikus Jazz Records NO #

After nearly 40 years in the spotlight and after hundreds of recordings, tenor saxophonist David Murray has become an Archie Shepp for the 21st Century. Although he has avoided the older tenor saxophonist’s sometimes self-aggrandizing political agenda, over time the Los Angles-born Murray, like Shepp, has moved from playing overtly avant-garde music to embrace Funk, Swing and even discs touching on the legacies of the Grateful Dead and Nat King Cole. Like Shepp again he’s still a first-class saxophonist. But spreading his talents so thin begs the questions of how Murray’s music should be scrutinized, and more crucially who exactly David Murray is? MORE

July 16, 2012

Tommy Vig Orchestra 2012 featuring David Murray

Welcome to Hungary
! Klasszikus Jazz Records NO #

Jamaaladeen Tacuma/David Murray

Rendezvous Suite

JazzWerkstatt JW 095

After nearly 40 years in the spotlight and after hundreds of recordings, tenor saxophonist David Murray has become an Archie Shepp for the 21st Century. Although he has avoided the older tenor saxophonist’s sometimes self-aggrandizing political agenda, over time the Los Angles-born Murray, like Shepp, has moved from playing overtly avant-garde music to embrace Funk, Swing and even discs touching on the legacies of the Grateful Dead and Nat King Cole. Like Shepp again he’s still a first-class saxophonist. But spreading his talents so thin begs the questions of how Murray’s music should be scrutinized, and more crucially who exactly David Murray is? MORE

January 5, 2012

Lest We Forget:

Julius Hemphill (1938-1995)
By Ken Waxman

Known best for the 15-odd years he spent as a founding member of the World Saxophone Quartet (WSQ), saxophonist and composer Julius Arthur Hemphill, influenced the shape of jazz before and after that affiliation. Live at Kassiopeia, a 1987 German concert recently released by NoBusiness, demonstrates his prowess in extending solo reed language and in powerful duets with German bassist Peter Kowald. Hemphill’s organizational and musical smarts also encouraged younger saxophonists such as Tim Berne and especially Marty Ehrlich, whose Julius Hemphill Sextet preserves the all-saxophone ensemble Hemphill created after splitting with the WSQ. MORE

May 21, 2011

World Saxophone Quartet

Yes We Can
Jazzwerkstatt JW 098

Who would have guessed that nearly 35 years after it was first organized the World Saxophone Quartet (WSQ) would make one of its most exciting CDs in years thanks to a 75-year-old guest star saxophonist? But it’s true. After a number of gimmicky CDs and live shows featuring shifting personnel, rhythm sections and odd song choices, the WSQ has returned to form with this superlative session thanks in no little part to the contributions of Kidd Jordan.

Playing alto saxophone instead of his usual tenor – thus filling missing WSQ founding member Oliver Lake’s chair – Jordan brings an indiscernible élan to the proceedings, evidently enlivening the group and prodding the other three players to masterful and imaginative work. The band’s other original members, baritone saxophonist and clarinetist Hamiet Bluiett and tenor saxophonist and bass clarinetist David Murray are both present. Meanwhile tenor and soprano saxophonist James Carter seems to be the newest permanent WSQ member, most recent in a long line of reedists who have filled the fourth chair since Julius Hemphill departed in 1990. MORE

January 8, 2011

David Murray/Chico Freeman

With Özay
ITM Archives 920009

David Murray

Live at the Lower Manhattan Ocean Club

Jazzwerkstatt JW 073

By Ken Waxman

Over the course of his career saxophonist David Murray has blown hot, cold, but mostly cool. Despite making hundreds of records, few are first class, although most reach a level of high competence. Live at the Lower Manhattan Ocean Club – initially released in 1977 on India Navigation – is one of his best early discs, however. Meanwhile With Özay, from the 1990s, is a top-flight vocal CD, where despite the billing, Murray, Chico Freeman and other first-call jazzers provide sympathetic accompaniment to singer Özay. MORE

January 8, 2011

David Murray

Live at the Lower Manhattan Ocean Club
Jazzwerkstatt JW 073

David Murray/Chico Freeman

With Özay

ITM Archives 920009

By Ken Waxman

Over the course of his career saxophonist David Murray has blown hot, cold, but mostly cool. Despite making hundreds of records, few are first class, although most reach a level of high competence. Live at the Lower Manhattan Ocean Club – initially released in 1977 on India Navigation – is one of his best early discs, however. Meanwhile With Özay, from the 1990s, is a top-flight vocal CD, where despite the billing, Murray, Chico Freeman and other first-call jazzers provide sympathetic accompaniment to singer Özay. MORE

March 8, 2010

Guelph Jazz Festival

Guelph, Ontario
September 9 - 13, 2009

Always populist, the annual Guelph Jazz Festival extended its support of outdoor improvisation plus interaction between Third and First World musicians in its 16th edition, without lessening its commitment to Free Music. Much of the outstanding music-making came from the later however, with American pianist Marilyn Crispell one standout.

Featured in American, European and Canadian group settings, Crispell’s playing was powerful and outer-directed at the River Run Centre concert hall, in a trio with two AACM stalwarts, seemingly ageless tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson and colorful percussionist Hamid Drake, whose rhythmic conception is comfortable in any context. Anderson often quivered or vibrated reflective lines that were paralleled with linear arpeggios or kinetic pedal-pushed frequencies by Crispell. Meantime Drake’s palm or stick movement conveyed all the rhythm. Climax was a version of Muñoz’s “Fatherhood”, built on ecclesiastical chording from the pianist, ruffs and rebounds from Drake and gospel-like preaching from Anderson. MORE

February 11, 2010

David Murray

Live at the Lower Manhattan Ocean Club
Jazzwerkstatt JW 073

Peitzer Grand

Mit Vieren

Jazzwerkstatt JW 077

Thirty-odd years make a big difference in the improvised music scene, both in Europe and North America. In fact, one wonders if any of the participants on these two fine live CDs – not to mention the associated audience members – could have imagined the altered musical and political landscape of the future.

In that timeframe, as is proven by many of the tracks on Live at the Lower Manhattan Ocean Club, it was the so-called avant-gardists in New York who were celebrating jazz’s past while contemporary players stuck to Bop and Fusion sounds. Meanwhile, as Mit Vieren demonstrates, the gap between East and West Germany was still a formidable chasm. That era’s version of political correctness made it necessary for even advanced German jazz combos to include foreign musicians among the players to ensure no band consisted of only participants from both sides of the Wall. MORE

June 20, 2005

COOPER-MOORE & ASSIF TSAHAR

Tells Untold
Hopscotch Records HOP30

KAHIL EL’ZABAR & DAVID MURRAY
We Is
Delmark DE-557

Reeds and miscellaneous instruments, especially percussion, figure in these improv/roots duo sessions. Multi-percussionist Kahil El’Zabar from Chicago is as expert in relating African rhythmic variations to jazz as New York multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore is in adapting temporal Black timbres to improvisations.

Complementing each man’s beat sophistication is, in El’Zabar’s case the tenor saxophone and bass clarinet of Paris resident David Murray, while Cooper-Moore’s partner is Israeli-born Assif Tsahar, whose proficiency on Murray’s chosen instruments extends to additional skills playing muzmar or Arabic oboe, acoustic guitar and thumb piano. Here El’Zabar also offers variations on the batà and thumb piano as well as the regular traps set, while on TELLS UNTOLD, Moore mixes virtuosity on ethnic instruments like the harp, shofar, deedly-bo and mouth-bow with outings on flute, synthesizer and others. MORE

May 2, 2005

HENRY GRIMES TRIO

Live at the Kerava Jazz Festival
Ayler ayl CD-028

Henry Grimes’ rediscovery and return to performing has been one of the pleasant surprises of the 21st Century improv scene. Formerly a shadowy, but respected figure whose sophisticated bass playing made him one of the pioneers of the New Thing, his employers included Cecil Taylor, Sonny Rollins and Albert Ayler.

Returned to active playing action after a 30-year absence – and without literally touching a bass for most of those years – initially his output was diffident and hesitant. However, as the cliché says, practice makes perfect. Honing his chops after a year of steady gigging, this CD proves that Grimes is back in the groove. If nothing else, holding his own for over an hour in concert with two of jazz’s most accomplished and busiest performers – reedist David Murray and percussionist Hamid Drake – parades his undiminished prowess. MORE

October 28, 2002

TRI-FACTOR

If You Believe…
8th Harmonic Breakdown 8THHB 80004

KAHIL EL’ZABAR
Love Outside of Dreams
Delmark DG-541

Leading two regular bands obviously isn’t enough for Chicago-based multi-percussionist Kahil El’Zabar. Not only has he written poetry and film scores, taught at nearby universities and initiated arts presentations, but he’s also put together a series of ad-hoc musical groups.

Besides his regularly constituted Ethnic Heritage Ensemble (EHE) and Ritual Trio, he also organized the Bright Moments combo filled with Association for Advancement of Creative Musicians veterans and recorded exciting projects with 1960s tenor masters like Pharoah Sanders and Archie Shepp. Now these CDs showcase him in two more bands. Tri-Factor is a regularly constituted co-op trio, filled out by baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett and violinist Billy Bang. The other combo disc is more of bittersweet affair. A reunion between El’Zabar and a former duo partner, extensively recorded tenor saxophonist David Murray, it’s also the final recording session for bassist Fred Hopkins, who died at 51 of heart and liver disease a few months after the session. MORE

June 2, 2000

DAVID MURRAY

Octet Plays Trane
Justin Time JUST 131-2

It's taken nearly 25 years, but reedist David Murray has finally got around to saluting John Coltrane. Times have also become more conservative during that same quarter century, so that this strong CD-while exciting enough-is actually a lot more mainstream than the precedent shattering work Murray did with his original octet, recorded at Sweet Basil's in the early 1980s.

You can't fault the musicianship here since everyone plays on a consistently high level. But it's disconcerting that someone who had worked out a polyphonic group music years ago in contrast to outright blowing sessions, and who expressed his alliance to the tradition by celebrating outcats instead of the usual suspects, should create something that can be slotted in with neo-con excursions. What finally saves it from this young fogey hell, though, is the originality of the arrangements. Still, it would have been nicer to have a less standard set list.

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