Reviews that mention Sunny Murray

November 26, 2018

The Reform Art Unit

For John Coltrane and Pablo Picasso
Voves Production CD 90001 (1969/1995)

The Reform Art Unit

Darjeeling

M Production CD 20011-1 (1970)

Wide Fields

To Federico Fellini

Granit Records GR 94004 (1984/1985)

The Reform Art Unit

55 Steps

Granit Records GR 93001(1993)

The Reform Art Quartet

Homage to Arnold Schönberg and Anton von Weber

Granit Records GR 98011 (1997)

The Reform Art Unit/Masters of Unorthodox Music

Something about Vienna
MORE

January 30, 2012

Sonic Liberation Front

Meets Sunny Murray
High Two HT 027

A throwback in a good way to the time when the New Thing really was a New Thing, this new collaboration between legendary drummer Sunny Murray, now a Paris resident, and the Philadelphia-based Sonic Liberation Front (SLF) give reminiscences and fusion a good name.

At the same time, because the 13 players aren’t interested in recreating anyone’s idea of the 1960s, and whose idea of fusion mixes in Afro-Cuban and Native American rhythms, the CD unfolds more differently than a retrospective created by any of Jazz’s rapidly aging neo-Cons. MORE

December 25, 2011

Sunny Murray/John Edwards/Tony Bevan

I Stepped Onto a Bee
Foghorn FGCD 014

Justly praised as a master improviser on bass saxophone – to be honest, competition is very slim – Oxford-based Tony Bevan is also a first-rate tenor saxophone soloist, something that hasn’t often been showcased in recent years. I Stepped Onto a Bee rectifies this omission with Bevan exercising his tenor chops on a six-part invention, working in tandem with London-based bassist John Edwards and legendary Free Jazz drummer Sunny Murray now domiciled in Paris.

Edwards who has played with everyone from saxophonist Evan Parker to the Stellari String Quartet adds jabs, plucks and strums to the tracks here, while Murray, whose list of associates starts with pianist Cecil Taylor and saxophonist Albert Ayler and goes on from there, is sympathetic in his backing, ranging from martial rat-tat-tats to bounces, ruffs and slaps. Above all though, it’s Bevan’s show, as he weaves variation after variation, using legato and extended techniques. MORE

January 8, 2011

Sunny Murray/John Edwards/Tony Bevan

Boom Boom Cat
Foghorn FGCD 011

By Ken Waxman

Although Sunny Murray, the dean of American free jazz drumming, is the best-known player here, the success of Boom Boom Cat depends as much on the contributions of the other two musicians, who are more than mere sideman. Bassist John Edwards and saxophonist Tony Bevan are both an integral part of London’s free music scene, working with everyone from saxophonist Evan Parker to drummer Steve Noble.

Veterans of thrash-rock ensembles as well as low-key improv combos, the two confidently partner Murray, who now lives in Paris, every time he visits Great Britain. Despite being children when Murray redefined drumming in the mid-1960s with pianist Cecil Taylor and saxophonist Albert Ayler, Edwards and Bevan are as confident in this context as any other. Bevan’s floor-vibrating bass saxophone gets a major workout on the shorter “Ballad for G”. But his deft manipulation of all its timbres, as well as those of the tenor and soprano saxophones, is brought into starker relief on the nearly hour-long title track. MORE

April 23, 2009

Charles Gayle Trio

Forgiveness
NotTwo MW 805-2

Odean Pope

Plant Life

Porter Records PRCD-4017

Superficially similar, each of these dates is lead by a veteran American saxophonist on either side of 70, adds the contributions of a bassist and a drummer, and consists of a program of mostly originals plus a different famous composition by John Coltrane. Although neither reaches the top rank, certain cohesive warmth and looseness in performance makes alto saxophonist Charles Gayle’s Forgiveness more enticing than tenor saxophonist Odean Pope’s Plant Life. MORE

April 23, 2009

Odean Pope

Plant Life
Porter Records PRCD-4017

Charles Gayle Trio

Forgiveness

NotTwo MW 805-2

Superficially similar, each of these dates is lead by a veteran American saxophonist on either side of 70, adds the contributions of a bassist and a drummer, and consists of a program of mostly originals plus a different famous composition by John Coltrane. Although neither reaches the top rank, certain cohesive warmth and looseness in performance makes alto saxophonist Charles Gayle’s Forgiveness more enticing than tenor saxophonist Odean Pope’s Plant Life. MORE

July 30, 2008

Gyldene Trion

Live at Glenn Miller Café Ayler Records aylCD-079

Sunny Murray/John Edwards/Tony Bevan

The Gearbox Explodes!

Foghorn FGCD 009

Stark examples of the fissure that in many cases separates younger musicians from slightly older ones, the ironic situation pinpointed in these releases is that in some cases it’s elders who are willing to try more experiments in their playing than their junior counterparts.

Both of these saxophone-bass-and-drums CDs provide interesting listening, but if one is expanding the improvised music tradition, the other is merely extending it. What’s paradoxical is that The Gearbox Explodes! includes sounds from a saxophonist in his fifties, a bassist in his forties and a drummer heading for his seventy-first birthday. Meanwhile members of the Gyldene Trion are in their twenties and thirties. MORE

July 30, 2008

Sunny Murray/John Edwards/Tony Bevan

The Gearbox Explodes! Foghorn FGCD 009

Gyldene Trion

Live at Glenn Miller Café

Ayler Records aylCD-079

Stark examples of the fissure that in many cases separates younger musicians from slightly older ones, the ironic situation pinpointed in these releases is that in some cases it’s elders who are willing to try more experiments in their playing than their junior counterparts.

Both of these saxophone-bass-and-drums CDs provide interesting listening, but if one is expanding the improvised music tradition, the other is merely extending it. What’s paradoxical is that The Gearbox Explodes! includes sounds from a saxophonist in his fifties, a bassist in his forties and a drummer heading for his seventy-first birthday. Meanwhile members of the Gyldene Trion are in their twenties and thirties. MORE

November 22, 2004

Sunny Murray/John Edwards/Tony Bevan

Home cooking in the UK
Foghorn

By Ken Waxman

November 29, 2004

Deeply felt music transcends arbitrary definitions attached to terminology, generation or nationalism. You can hear that clearly on this standout live session by three exceptional improvisers.

What could cause disquiet is that two of the players -- bassist John Edwards and saxophonist Tony Bevan -- are baby boomers and committed British Free Music players. Part of that sometimes-insular scene, they often work with guitarist Derek Bailey, major domo of that genre, who insists on Free Music’s distance from Jazz. Yet the third participant in this series of first-time meetings, recorded on tour in Britain, is 67-year-old drummer Sunny Murray. Not only is Murray, who lives in Paris, a jazzman without compromise, but he was one of the men who helped birth the so-called New Thing. He held the drum chair with both Cecil Taylor’s and Albert Ayler’s trios in the mid-1960s and afterwards led or participated in a clutch of sessions that defined so-called Energy Music. MORE

November 10, 2003

ASSIF TSAHAR/PETER KOWALD/SUNNY MURRAY

MA: Live at the Fundacio Juan Miro
Hopscotch 15

MARIO SCHIANO/XU FENGXIA/MARTIN BLUME
Dear Peter…
Improjazz PRGT 001

German bassist Peter Kowald’s peripatetic life and willingness to improvise with musicians of all stripes and nationalities immensely widened the circle of musicians who mourned his sudden death from a heart attack at 58, in September 2002.

His enthusiasm for musical collaboration, which seemed to augment in the year or so before his death -- a characteristic he shared with other first generation European improvisers such as Peter Brötzmann, Evan Parker and Derek Bailey -- has meant that a raft of recent CDs have celebrated the bassist’s skills. Although not one is the definite last session, MA is one of the more impressive efforts. MORE

July 14, 2003

TELETU

Quartetos
Clean Feed CF006 CD

As with any empirical formula, changing one part of a musical equation can result in a completely different outcome. Compare John Coltrane’s quartet with McCoy Tyner on piano to the one with Alice Coltrane on piano for instance. Or think of how different the Modern Jazz Quartet sounded with Connie Kay instead of Kenny Clarke on drums.

Portuguese total improv ensemble, Telectu, has done something like that on this three-CD set. Together for more than 20 years Telectu’s guiding duo -- pianist Jorge Lima Barreto and guitarist Vìtor Rua -- have over the years adapted variation of electronica, minimalism, musique concrète, art rock and lounge jazz to its improv foundation, collaborating with musicians such as experimental American guitarist Elliott Sharp and French clarinetist Louis Sclavis. Recently, despite side projects in theatre works and poetry, the band has become more acoustic, especially when Rua’s self-designed 18-string guitar is put into play. British soprano saxophonist Tom Chant has been the third Telectuan since 1990. MORE

February 17, 2003

ALBERT AYLER

The Copenhagen tapes
Ayler aylCD-033

Almost 33 years after his death in New York’s East River, an apparent suicide, the stature of tenor saxophonist Albert Ayler as a major musical force keeps growing. His redefinition of horn playing away from empty technique and towards emotional vulnerability, and his insistence on articulating simple themes that easily became vehicles for improvisation, has been acknowledged by everyone short of the most reactionary jazz neo-con.

Today with indie rock stars looking for street cred and exploratory contemporary classical composers joining jazzers in placing the saxophonist in the pantheon that includes Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane, it seems that his influence is everywhere. Some commentators even call this musical time the Post-Ayler epoch. MORE

October 7, 2002

SUNNY MURRAY

Sunshine & An Even Break (never give a sucker)
Fuel 2000 Records 302 061 215 2

Potentially the time when Energy music of both the American and European varieties reached the zenith of acceptance, 1969 was also unique because it suddenly seemed that the very fabric of society was ripping apart.

Riots were commonplace on both continents. Radicalized students were staging sometimes-violent demonstrations to demand more liberalized education processes and to protest against local repression and the war in Viet Nam. Fringe groups had turned to kidnapping, bomb throwing and arson in Europe, while in the U.S., the Black Power Movement had moved into its short-lived, so-called revolutionary phrase. MORE

November 5, 2001

ARTHUR DOYLE/SUNNY MURRAY

Live at Glenn Miller Café
Ayler Records aylCD-002

There are some people who regard Alabama-born tenor saxophonist Arthur Doyle as an idiot savant. Others drop the savant part.

Certainly Doyle's odd personal and playing history, checkered recording career and sometimes bizarre pronouncements give fuel to those who see all first-generation energy players from Albert Ayler to Charles Gayle as just one step away from the psycho ward.

Actually, the saxophonist who has suffered mental breakdowns and (unjustly) spent time in prison, is a primitive in the best sense of the word. Even more than in his past work with more balanced types like drummer Milford Graves and saxophonist Noah Howard, here he uses his horns as a mirror to the inner workings of his psyche. Luckily drummer Sunny Murray, who has had bouts of strangeness himself in the almost 40 years since he first came to prominence with Cecil Taylor, is here to offers some focus. MORE