The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo + KAZE: Peace (Tribute To Kelly Churko) (Libra)

Pianist Satoko Fujii's Orchestra Toky + the band Kaze, bringing guests trumpeter Cristian Pruvost and drummer Peter Orins alongside trumpeter Natsuki Tamura into a spectacular big band of great power but also subtle meditation, in four works that include a tribute to the late guitar and Fujii collaborator Kelly Churko. ... Click to View


Satoko Fujii : Invisible Hand [2 CDs] (Cortez Sound)

After bringing her band Kaze to the Cortez club in Mito, Japan, the owner asked pianist Satoko Fujii back to perform a solo show, captured here across two CDs showing her extensive technical skills and passionate approach to playing, in a mix of new work and new takes on previously recorded compositions. ... Click to View


The Thing: Garage [VINYL] (The Thing Records)

Heavy free jazz in the 3rd release from the trio of Mats Gustafsson on tenor and baritone sax, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten on bass, and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums, covering an eclectic set of punk and free jazz titles including Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Sonics, White Stripes, Norman Howard and Brotzmann; thick and sick free improvisation. ... Click to View


Julius Hemphill : Raw Materials and Residuals [VINYL + CD] (Black Saint)

An essential 70s Black Saint album from New York saxophonist Julius Hemphill in a trio with Abdul Wadud on cello and Don Moey on percussion, merging blues, free jazz, free bop and inspired approaches to improvisation, reissued on vinyl LP with a CD copy included. ... Click to View


Sound American: The Cassette Issue tape: Featuring Nate Wooley [CASSETTE] (Astral Spirits)

Nate Wooley's Sound American online magazine presents a complete rehearsal of the trio of Philip White (electronics), Chris Pitsiokos (sax) and C. Spencer Yeh (violin), as they discuss their work and develop a piece entitled "Shredding Treatise"; and an interview by Nate Wooley of Baltimore music researcher, record producer, and writer Ian Nagoski. ... Click to View


Monas (Fisher / DeBlase / Millions): Freedom [CASSETTE] (Astral Spirits)

With connections from both the free jazz and improvising rock scene, including Borbetomagus, Many Arms, Caribou, Anthony Braxton, William Parker, Zevious, &c, the trio of Colin Fisher (saxophone, guitar), Johnny DeBlase (electric bass) and Kid Millions (drums) debut their Monas project of intense, electronically spiked, free form improvisation. ... Click to View


Jerman / Barnes: Karst [CASSETTE] (Astral Spirits)

Experimental sound artists Jeph Jerman and Tim Barnes continue their exploration heard in their erstwhile and Confton releases, here in two new tracks recorded in Arizona and Louisville as they prepared for their 2016 performance at the No Idea Festival in Austin, TX. ... Click to View


Birchall / Smal / Webster: Drop Out [CASSETTE] (Astral Spirits)

Two sides of the London trio of David Birchall on guitar, Rogier Smal on drums, and Colin Webster on alto saxophone, bringing a bit of madness into very free improv, the first side an immersion in unflagging collective improvisation of great detail, the second side a bringing introspective dialog into an evolving collaborative free-for-all. ... Click to View


More Eaze / A.F. Jones & Steve Flato: Split Release [CASSETTE] (Astral Spirits)

A split tape from Austin-based More Eaze (aka Marcus Rubio) and San Diego-based duo A.F. Jones and Steve Flato, More Eaze presenting a work of surprising twists, drone, and audio turns; Jones & Flato create an electronic composition of strange detail using a wide auditory palette encompassing the lowest to highest tones. ... Click to View


Marteau Rouge ‎ (Pauvros / Sato / Foussat): ... Un Jour Se Leve [VINYL] (Fou Records)

The free improvising trio of Makoto Sato on drums, Jean-Francois Pauvros on guitar and Jean-Marc Foussat on synthesizer & voice in a studio album of unique electro-acoustic dialog recorded in Paris in 2013. ... Click to View


Departement d'Education Psychique: Untitled [VINYL] (Fou Records)

The trio of Jean-Marc Foussat on synthesizer and voice, abd Dynamo Dreesen & SVN on electronics, crossing artists more associated with techno with free improvisation, here in their second release recorded live at Ohm in Berlin, Germany and at"Neues Deutchland" in 2016. ... Click to View


En Corps (Eve Risser / Benjamin Duboc / Edward Perraud): Generation (Dark Tree Records)

The 2nd album from En Corps, the improvising trio of Eve Risser on piano, Benjamin Duboc on double bass, and Edward Perraud on drums, was recorded live at Artacts 16 festival in St Johann, Austria in 2016, performing two building works--"Des Corps" and "Des Ames" (The Bodies, The Souls)--which evolve from intricate quiet interplay into rich harmonic interaction. ... Click to View


Anemone (John Butcher / Peter Evans / Frederic Blondy / Clayton Thomas / Paul Lovens): A Wing Dissolved in Light [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

A brilliant quintet brought together for the Tampere Jazz Happening, in Finland in 2013, with NY trumpeter Peter Evans, UK saxophonist John Butcher, Australian bassist Clayton Thomas, UK drummer/percussionist Paul Lovens, and French pianist Frederic Blondy for a phenomenal extended improvisation presented in parts: "Une Aile Dissoute Dans La Lumiere". ... Click to View


Klaus Treuheit / Lou Grassi: Port of Call [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

An informed set of creative iprovisations recorded in the studio and drawing clearly from the traditional jazz idiom between German pianist Klaus Treuheit and NY drummer Lou Grassi, performing original 4-part compositions including the "Misterioso", "L'espace Sonore", and "Lament # Pb". ... Click to View


Paul Rutherford / Sabu Toyozumi: The Conscience [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

The 1st in a series of unreleased concerts from the 90s recorded in Japan by Chap-Chap Records, acquired by NoBusiness to bring them to light; this duo album brings the late and influential UK free improvising trombonist Paul Rutherford together with drummer Sabu Toyozumi for five far-ranging dialogs of both reflective and enthusiastical energetic playing. ... Click to View


Itaru Oki / Nobuyoshi Ino / Choi Sun Bae: Kami Fusen [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

An exciting and uniquely orchestrated free jazz trio concert recorded live at Cafe Amores, Hofu, Yamaguchi in Japan in 1996 from the trio of Itaru Oki on trumpet and bamboo flute, Nobuyoshi Ino on bass, and Choi Sun Bae on trumpet, Ino providing often stunningly quick bass lines over which the otherwise rhythm-less band are afforded great flexibility. ... Click to View


Itaru Oki / Nobuyoshi Ino / Choi Sun Bae: Kami Fusen (NoBusiness)

An exciting and uniquely orchestrated free jazz trio concert recorded live at Cafe Amores, Hofu, Yamaguchi in Japan in 1996 from the trio of Itaru Oki on trumpet and bamboo flute, Nobuyoshi Ino on bass, and Choi Sun Bae on trumpet, Ino providing often stunningly quick bass lines over which the otherwise rhythm-less band are afforded great flexibility. ... Click to View


Spunk: Still Eating Ginger Bread For Breakfast (Rune Grammofon)

Norway's unconventional improvising quartet SPUNK with Maja S. K. Ratkje, Hild Sofie Tafjord, Lene Grenager and Kristin Andersen are heard live at Nasjonal Jazzscene in Oslo, Norway in 2015, capturing these two sets of uniquely unexpected and jaw-dropping recordings from a band on the cutting edge of avant improvisation. ... Click to View


Whit Dickey / Mat Maneri / Matthew Shipp: Vessel In Orbit (Aum Fidelity)

While working with Matthew Shipp on an Ivo Perelman album, drummer Whit Dickey and pianist Shipp agreed to record an album of their own and enlisted violist Mat Maneri to record this album of deep space-themed improvisations, collective music of heavy propulsion that bursts from impassioned exchange to convoluted clusters of sound. ... Click to View


Daunik Lazro / Joelle Leandre / George Lewis: Enfances 8 Janv. 1984 (Fou Records)

A live recording at 28 rue Dunois, in Paris, France in 1984 from the trio of Daunik Lazro on alto sax, Joelle Leandre on double bass and voice, and George Lewis on trombone, a trans-Atlantic enounter of creative inventiveness and innovative vision, a great document of three persistent masters captured early in their incredible careers. ... Click to View


Evan Parker / John Edwards / Steve Noble : PEN (Dropa Disc)

Bringing together three leaders from the UK free jazz scene, the new trio of Evan Parker on tenor sax, Steve Noble on drums & percussion, and John Edwards on double bass present a masterful album drawing from the roots of free improvisation in playing that rises and recedes like a tidal force, captured live at the Oorstof concert series in Antwerp. ... Click to View


Ballister: Low Level Stink [VINYL & DVD] (Dropa Disc)

One of the super-groups of free improvisation, colliding elements of jazz, rock, ea-improv and beyond, the Ballister trio of Chicago stalwarts Dave Rempis (sax) and Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello) are captured live at the Oorstof concert series in De Studio, Antwerp, presenting the concert in a limited, combined vinyl LP and DVD release. ... Click to View


Evan Parker / John Russel / Ian Brighton / Phillip Wachsmann / Marcio Mattos / Trevor Taylor: Live From Cafe Oto (FMR)

London's Cafe Oto organized a reunion of String Thing, guitarist Ian Brighton's project with violinist Phillip Wachsmann, bassist Marcio Mattos, & Trevor Taylor on percussion and electronics, adding guitarist John Russell and saxophonist Evan Parker, here capturing an impressive night of improv, and Brighton's first public appearance in nearly 40 years. ... Click to View


Fred Lonberg-Holm / Adam Golebiewski: Relephant (Bocian)

Chicago free improvising cellist and electronicist Fred Lonberg-Holm and Poznan, Germany drummer, having worked together in larger group settings, met as a duo at MDK Dragon Club in Ponzan to record these four far-ranging improvisations of unusual textures, rhythms and sonic interactions. ... Click to View


Antoine Chessex / Apartment House / Jerome Noetinger: "Plastic Concrete" / "Accumulation" (Bocian)

Two long-form compositions combining acoustic and electronic orchestration by Antoine Chessex, convoluted works that take unusual twists and turns from spirited interaction to beautiful sonic passages, performed at London's Cafe Oto by an ensemble including Dominic Lash, Andrew Sparling, Jerome Noetinger, &c. ... Click to View


Miles Okazaki: Trickster (Pi Recordings)

Intricate interplay in modern jazz from guitarist Miles Okazaki in a quartet with fellow New Yorkers Craig Taborn on piano, Anthony Tidd on bass, and Sean Rickman on drums--Tidd and Rickman his compatriots in Steve Coleman and Five Elements--performing Okazaki's playfully complex and innovative compositions that drive some serious grooves. ... Click to View


The Necks: Unfold [VINYL 2 LPs] (Ideologic Organ)

Four side-long improvisations from the Australian trio of Chris Abrahams on piano, Tony Buck on drums, and Lloyd Swanton on bass, each side a masterpiece of slowly transpiring and evolving music, unhurriedly expanding each track to reveal tension and allure. ... Click to View


Archer / Clark / Grew / Hunter: Felicity's Ultimatum (Discus)

The 2nd release in a new series of small groups drawn from members of the Discus Music family, where the group meets, writes, rehearses and records in one single session, here developing ten compositions from all four players edited into a continuous sequence of structure and improvisation, embracing melody, texture and pure abstraction. ... Click to View


Orchestra of the Upper Atmosphere: 02 (Discus)

An absolutely impressive album blending advanced/progressive rock forms with improvisation, starting from collective improvisation and layering in the studio to create a sophisticated psychedelic music, the second album from this ensemble that is headed by Martin Archer (reeds & keys), Chris Bywater (keys & synth), and Steve Dinsdale (drums & percussion). ... Click to View


Daniel Levin / Ingebrigt Haker Flaten / Chris Corsano: Spinning Jenny (Trost Records)

Three innovative improvisers, Daniel Levin on cello, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten on bass, and Chris Corsano on drums, in a studio album of collective free playing that's traverses both ferocious and introspective aspects of their dialog with tremendous technical skill and wonderful creative strategies. ... Click to View


Email:



The Squid's Ear
Squidco Sales



  Berlitz Jazz  

David Murray's Musical Travels


By Kurt Gottschalk 2003-12-15

David Murray
[Photo: Kurt Gottschalk]
David Murray took the stage at one of the most prestigious halls in New York City in mid October. The room itself was the beautiful new Zankel Hall, but this was nevertheless Carnegie Hall, which no matter what even when pop brothers Hanson rent it is a statement.

Less than a decade ago, Murray was living in Brooklyn, leading a big band Monday nights at the Knitting Factory and playing well lubricated gigs at the Village Vanguard and other spots around town. Despite being one of the best jazz horn players alive, he was another New York gigging musician.

But times change, and now his appearances in town, once or twice a year at best, are events. On this night, it was the 10 string players - in addition to his quartet of pianist Lafayette Gilchrist, bassist Jaribu Shahid and drummer Hamid Drake - that made the gig a concert proper. But even if this was Carnegie Hall and even if the string players were in concert black, the only orchestra Murray was taking cues from was the Love Unlimited. And while he didn't mention Philadelphia, he alluded to his other musical journeys of recent years.

"My quartet is the core of my explorations in Africa and the Carribean," he said from the stage. "We've traveled many miles together and we have many more miles to travel."

Murray's sculpting of events in part relies on a fonder heart borne of absence. But it's also or would seem to be by design, part of a master plan. When asked after a rehearsal for his Cuban Big Band's appearance at the Knitting Factory in January why he doesn't play in New York anymore, he said simply "That's by design."

It's also logistics. Murray left New York to live in France in 1995, where he and his wife Valerie Malot run 3D Family Productions. Since then, his performances in the town he called home for some 25 years haven't been gigs, they've been concerts: proper halls, thematic programming, and ticket prices to match. He brought a big band to Aaron Davis Hall in Harlem to play the music of Duke Ellington and appeared with his octet on Broadway for a performance with the dance troupe Urban Bushwomen.

And after three score and more cds leading dozens of musicians through his insightful arrangements of the jazz repertoire, Murray announced his retirement from jazz around the time he left New York, saying he would focus his efforts on musical traditions of other cultures. That and the move to Paris marked his fall from New York jazz darling, our own anti-Marsalis, to an outsider, someone whose name most often elicits responses like "Is that guy still around?" and "Oh yeah, what's he been up to?"

But for Murray, the musician's life in New York was getting worse, with fewer places to play and less opportunity to get paid.

"It seemed kind of a void, like things were going to change for the worse," he said. "The musicians didn't really want to stand up for their rights - the right to play anywhere they want to, to be creative. New York has always been the most creative city in the world. Conservatism had taken over jazz."

To sidestep that conservatism, Murray became a world traveler. In a tradition dating back to Dizzy Gillespie, Murray began looking to sounds from other cultures to feed his jazz. He's borrowed from the Carribean (Creole, released in 1998), Guadalupe (Yonn-De, from 2002) and now, Gillespie's beloved Cuba on the new Now is Another Time (released, like the others, on the Canadian label Justin Time).

"I'm not in everybody's faces," he said. "I'm in different people's faces all over the world. My mind is so far from New York at the moment. It's nice to be here, but I don't care to live here. I'm having the ball of my life right now."

The Cuban jazz he brought to the Knitting Factory shows that spirit. It's infectiously fun. But while the record was made with Cuban musicians (along with a few of his regular collaborators), the New York shows were a reunion of his old big band days, meaning pulling the musicians together and running charts with limited rehearsal time before the four-night stand.

Sixteen people, a baby grand, drums, congas, an upright bass, three trombones crossing over music stands, a five-strong sax section plus the bandleader and his unrivaled tenor were crowded onto the stage, the same stage where he held court on Monday nights for a good chunk of the '90s with his big band, often under the conduction of Lawrence D. "Butch" Morris. Rolls of sheet music fell from Murray's stand as he sang "New York, OK," then called "Sad Kind of Love."

"Ok, so y'all gotta groove with that," Murray said to the band. "It's weird, but ya gotta groove. You could even put it into a rock thing if you want - pah pah pah - but it's gotta lock. What's happening here is we're playing a ballad, and it's not going to get fast."

Much of his conducting during the rehearsal involved pointing heavenward with his right hand - always up, always more. Whatever project Murray takes on, he's unlikely to demand less than fire from is band. The band ran through some unmistakable Murray heads, vintage even, the pure sugar of albums like Shakill's Warrior, but with a Latin backbeat.

Whatever the influence, the Cuban here or the other "world music" projects he's taken on, the music swings. Taking the jazz out of David Murray would be something like taking the soft out of a pillow.

"It's jazz," he later affirmed. "It's my way of trying to seize something Latin inside what I'm doing.

"I started out studying the rhythms of the drums," he said. "I'm not a master of it. I just tried to study the masters." He cites Cuban pianist Monolito Simonet and flutist Jose Luis Cortez (who appears on the new record) as some of the sources to which he's been turning.

"It's not just me blowing my horn," he said. "You're going to countries, pacing out the project. I'm learning and I'm teaching. It takes me away from the mundaneness of what jazz has become. I think my life is a lot more exciting than a lot of jazz players."

Asked if he thinks he's fitting more into a world music than a jazz mold lately, he was careful not to commit.

"I haven't played at that many world music festivals, so I guess not," he said. "As long as I'm playing the jazz festivals, I guess what I'm doing is jazz. The European community is putting more white in it on the one side, I'm putting black in on the other. Me being an African, it's probably the truest thing I can do."

Still, he said, following the rhythms of the African diaspora isn't his sole ambition.

"I'm interested in China," he said. "There's so many curiosities in the world, for me to focus just on "I Got Rhythm" is kind of stupid."

But if his concert at the Knitting Factory was a cross pollinization, the Carnegie Hall night was pure jazz; if he was following in the tradition of Diz before, here he was touching on something that goes back to Charlie Parker with Strings. They played Billy Strayhorn's "Chelsea Bridge," a piece dedicated to Curtis Mayfield and a second for John Coltrane, in which Murray went from 1958 to 1966 in the first two minutes, eclipsed Trane altogether from a moment, then landed squarely in the early Impulse! years and worked his way to 1968.

It's with no false modesty that he takes on Trane, and he can kick it with Prez and Bean, too. And when he skips across them all like a stone across the surface of a pond, that's pure Murray. He sells big ideas, and in the end you can't blame him for whatever it takes to get him where he's going. But ultimately it isn't big ideas he delivers. It's a variety of pastiches and facades, borrowings and labellings with the same saxophone he's been playing for decades. Which may sound like harsh criticism, but it isn't, for the simple reason that Murray is still about the best saxophonist in jazz. He's easily the most dextrous and soulful, and that's what he's paid for. He's not a conceptualist, and he's not even a great composer. Out of the scores of pieces he's composed, only a handful are really memorable (and perhaps only "Hope Scope" is truly great). But his huge tone and his rich soulfulness, not to mention his equally great bass clarinet playing, have been one of the pure treasures in jazz for three decades. The rest is just window dressing.

And somewhere, behind all the dedications and below the Ben Webster hat, Murray seems to know it.

"I believe in the past," he said. "You have to study the past to have a strong future. The history of jazz is so short, why not know everything?"



The Squid's Ear presents
reviews about releases
sold at Squidco.com
written by
independent writers.

Squidco

Recent Selections @ Squidco:


Evan Parker/
John Russel/
Ian Brighton/
Phillip Wachsmann/
Marcio Mattos/
Trevor Taylor:
Reunion Live
From Cafe Oto
(FMR)



Miles Okazaki:
Trickster
(Pi Recordings)



Orchestra of the
Upper Atmosphere:
02
(Discus)



The Necks:
Unfold
[VINYL 2 LPs]
(Ideologic Organ)



Evan Parker/
John Edwards/
Steve Noble :
PEN
(Dropa Disc)



Ballister:
Low Level Stink
[VINYL & DVD]
(Dropa Disc)



Ivo Perelman/
Joe Morris/
Gerald Cleaver:
The Art Of
The Improv Trio
Volume 6
(Leo)



The International Nothing:
The Power Of
Negative Thinking
(Monotype)



Angelica Sanchez Trio
(w/ Michael Formanek/
Tyshawn Sorey):
Float the Edge
(Clean Feed)



Michael Attias Quartet
(w/ Ortiz/
Hebert/
Hebert):
Nerve Dance
(Clean Feed)



Harris Eisenstadt
Canada Day
(w/ Wooley/
Bauder/
Niggenkemper):
On Parade in Parede
(Clean Feed)



Trespass Trio
(Zanussi/
Strid/
Kuchen):
The Spirit of Pitesti
(Clean Feed)



MIR 8
(Andrea Belfi/
Werner Dafeldecker/
Hilary Jeffery/
Tim Wright):
Perihelion
[VINYL]
(Shhpuma)



Daniel Sarid Trio:
Leventuruos
(OutNow Recordings)



Trouble Kaze
(Fujii/
Agnel/
Tamura/
Pruvost/
Lasserre/
Orins):
June
(Helix Circum-Disc)



MarsaFouty
(Jean-Luc Foussat/
Fred Marty):
Concerts
(Fou Records)



Matt Mitchell
plays Tim Berne:
Forage
(Screwgun)



I Am Three
(Eberhard/
Neuser/
Marien):
Mingus Mingus Mingus
(Leo)



Simon Nabatov:
Monk 'N' More
(Leo)



Derek Bailey/
Joelle Leandre/
George Lewis/
Evan Parker :
28 Rue Dunois Juillet 1982
(Fou Records)







Squidco
Click here to
advertise with
The Squid's Ear






The Squid's Ear pays its writers.
Interested in becoming a reviewer?




The Squid's Ear is the companion magazine to the online music shop Squidco !


  Copyright © 2016 Squidco. All rights reserved. Trademarks. (53449)