The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Joe Morris : Solos - Bimhuis (Relative Pitch)

Live recordings from guitarist Joe Morris, performing solo at Bimhuis in Amsterdam in two Octobers from 2013 to 2014, showing remarkable technical and creative skills while captivating his audience with accessible progressions and story-telling; masterful! ... Click to View


Otomo Yoshihide : Guitar Solo 2015 LEFT (Doubtmusic)

Reflecting on his studies with guitarist Masayuki Takayanagi, Otomo Yoshihide plays one of Takayanagi's favorite electric guitars, a 1963 Gibson-175, to record 6 extended and informed free improvisations, including Ornette's "Lonely Woman" and "Song for Che". ... Click to View


Musicworks: #122 Summer 2015 [MAGAZINE + CD] (Musicworks)

On the cover, Allison Camerson. Inside: Dave Burrell's Unsung Songbook; Peter Ablinger's Art of Time; Sabrina Schroeder's Stircrazer; plus reviews of recordings and events, label profiles, essays, &c. &c. ... Click to View


Tiger Hatchery: Sun Worship (ESP)

Chicago power-jazz trio Tiger Hatchery in an album from the free jazz tradition born from Albert Ayler and Peter Brotzmann, with aggressively powerful approaches that cross into noise-rock, but remain firmly rooted in modern free improvisation. ... Click to View


Tiger Hatchery: Sun Worship [VINYL] (ESP)

Chicago power-jazz trio Tiger Hatchery in an album from the free jazz tradition born from Albert Ayler and Peter Brotzmann, with aggressively powerful approaches that cross into noise-rock, but remain firmly rooted in modern free improvisation. ... Click to View


Albert Ayler: Spirits Rejoice [VINYL] (ESP)

Legendary saxophonist Albert Ayler recorded this album in 1965 with the phenomenal band with brother Donald Ayler on trumpet, Charles Tyler on alto sax, Sunny Murray on drums, Call Cobbs on harpsichord, and Gary Peacock and Henry Grime on bass, reissued with its original cover. ... Click to View


Joe McPhee & John Snyder: To Be Continued [VINYL] (Kye)

The first meeting of saxophonist/trumpeter Joe McPhee and John Synder, here on an ARP2600 synth, in a communal ritual septet concert for friends and neighbors titled "Ancient to the Future" performed at New York's Holy Cross Monastery in 1973, here in its first ever release. ... Click to View


Arnold Dreyblatt : Second Selection [VINYL 2 LPs] (Black Truffle)

A major collection of archival recordings by seminal minimalist composer, performer, instrument builder and visual artist Arnold Dreyblatt, presenting eleven pieces selected by Oren Ambarchi from Dreyblatt's extensive archive of previously unreleased recordings. ... Click to View


Land of Marigold (Joshua Zubot & Ellwood Epps): Creosote (Barnyard)

The Montreal duo of trumpeter Ellwood Epps and Josh Zubot on violin and low octave violin for 9 upbeat, technically superb and intricate instant improvisations, what they refer to as "foot-tapping for ghosts, seeing the northern lights from underwater". ... Click to View


Jason Kahn: Beautiful Ghost Wave (Herbal International)

Jason Kahn uses feedback and electronic noise to create a large work created from static, hiss, and unusual electronic sound, dynamic and ever-shifting aspects of both lovely and aberrant electronics, captivating in ever-shifting sounds that inform but do not overwhelm. ... Click to View


Pascal Battus / Lionel Marchetti / Emmanuel Petit : La Vie Dans Les Bois (Herbal International)

... Click to View


Lasse Riek Marc: Harbour (Herbal International)

Compositions by Lasse-Marc Riek of the Gruenrekorder label, created from field recordings of sounds in harbors, recorded between 1999 & 2007 in Finland's Bjorkoby and Ostero harbors, and in Germany in Wismar and Hamburg harbors, rich evocations of the sea. ... Click to View


ISKRA 1903 (Rutherford / Bailey / Guy): Chapter One (1970-2) [3 CDs] (Emanem)

A reissue of Emanem 4031, a classic concert and studio performances from '70-'72 by the innovative trio of Paul Rutherford (trombone, piano) Derek Bailey (guitar) and Barry Guy (double bass), which was a much expanded reissue of the early Incus releaes 3/4 of the same name. ... Click to View


John Russell (with Phil Minton, Thurston Moore, Evan Parker, &c.): With... (Emanem)

British free improvising guitar master John Russell's 60th birthday gig at London's CAfe Oto is presented in a duo with Phil Minton, a trio with Henry Lowther & Satoko Fakuda, in a trio with Evan Parker and John Edwards, and in a duo with Thurston Moore. ... Click to View


Iskra 1903: Buzz Soundtrack (Emanem)

Music for the 1971 film by Michael Grigsby and performed by the trio of Paul Rutherford (trombone), Derek Bailey (guitar) and Barry Guy (double bass), a fascinating and distinctive set, more restrained and gentle than their live performances from that time. ... Click to View


Norstebo / Strid / De Heney: Oslo Wien [2 CDs] (VA FONGOOL)

Norwegian trombonist Henrik Munkeby Norstebo's recurring trio with Swedish drummer Raymond Strid and Swiss double bassist Nina de Heney in a 2-CD release featuring two complete concerts from 2014, first at Bidroban in Norway, and then at Freistunde in Vienna, Austria. ... Click to View


Mike Pride: Listening Party (Akord Records/Subkulturni Azil)

The first solo album from Downtown NY drummer/multi-instrumentalist Mike Pride, 18 diverse and succinct pieces for percussion instruments, studio creations, glockenspiel etudes & drum set improvisations with rhythmically superb music and some strange bits of NYC humor. ... Click to View


Alva Noto: Xerrox Vol. 3 [VINYL 2 LPs] (Raster-Noton)

Alva Noto continues his Xerrox series with the 3rd volume,"Towards Space", using the process of copying and manipulation of data as a basis for sound compositions, here showing a warmer music inspired by film memories, creating an imaginary soundtrack. ... Click to View


Alva Noto: Xerrox Vol. 3 [VINYL 2 LPs] (Raster-Noton)

Alva Noto continues his Xerrox series with the 3rd volume,"Towards Space", using the process of copying and manipulation of data as a basis for sound compositions, here showing a warmer music inspired by film memories, creating an imaginary soundtrack. ... Click to View


Art Zoyd: Generation Sans Futur [VINYL] (Sub Rosa)

Art Zoyd's 3rd LP from 1980 now with Daniel Denis on drums is an impressive album of complex, dramatic music with shifting time signatures, tones and unlikely twists and turns. ... Click to View


Sun Ra and His Intergalactic Myth Science Solar Arkestra: Sleeping Beauty [VINYL] (KS Art Yard Series)

An extremely soulful electric album from Sun Ran and the Intergalactic Myth Science Solar Arkestra, a groove driven and funky swirling masterpiece from the late 70's. ... Click to View


Goh Kwang Lee: Hands (Herbal International)

A fun and unusual electronic album from Malaysian sound artist Goh Lee Kwang's, whose instrument of choice is an old Roland Jupiter analogue synth, but toy keyboards, saxophones, bass and drums also thrown into the pot and merrily melted down by Max/MSP. ... Click to View


Chicago Reed Quartet (Mazzarella / Rempis / Williams / Vandermark): Western Automatic (Aerophonic)

Four generations of Chicago saxophonists--Dave Rempis, Ken Vandermark, Mars Williams, and Nick Mazzarella--come together in an interactive saxophone quartet with each player providing 2 compositions of well-developed, powerful, engaging free and lyrical jazz. ... Click to View


Rempis Percussion Quartet, The (w/ Haker-Flaten / Rosaly / Daisy): Cash And Carry (Aerophonic)

After 10 years together, the Rempis Percussion Quartet led by saxophonist Dave Rempist, Frank Rosaly, Tim Daisy on drums and percussion, and Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten on bass, recorded this concert at Chicago's Hungry Brain for a superlative album of rhythmically simmering free improv. ... Click to View


Samuel Blaser: Spring Rain (Whirlwind)

Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser pays tribute to clarinetist and composer Jimmy Giuffre, in a quartet with Russ Lossing on piano & keys, Drew Gress on double bass, and Gerald Cleaver on drums, merging Giuffre's lyrical forms to create new and innovative compositions. ... Click to View


Rob Mazurek / Exploding Star Orchestra: Galactic Parables: Volume 1 [2 CDs] (Cuneiform)

Composer, cornetist, and musical director Rob Mazurek leads his largest regular ensemble, the Exploding Star Orchestra, through one of his most ambitious recordings, part of an epic science fiction opera inspired by the writings of Samuel R. Delany and Stanislaw Lem. ... Click to View


Michael Gibbs & the NDR Bigband featuring Bill Frisell: Play a Bill Frisell Setlist (Cuneiform)

Guitarist Bill Frisell's first-ever appearance as the featured soloist on a big band session, performing with British composer and arranger Michael Gibbs and his NDR Bigband for a tour de force album playing over arrangements of compositions drawn from his career. ... Click to View


Michael Gibbs & the NDR Bigband: In My View (Cuneiform)

British jazz composer and arranger Michael Gibbs directs his NDR Big Band through a set of lyrical jazz pieces with brilliant arrangements, including four original compositions and compositions from Carla Bley, Thelonius Monk, Ornette Coleman, Gordon Jenkins, and Ron Carter. ... Click to View


Guapo: Obscure Knowledge (Cuneiform)

For 20 years this British rock trio has straddled the boundaries of progressive, noise, minimalism and avant-rock here in a 3 part 43 minute long work in a scenic journey through loud New York minimalism, celestial drones, avant rock, kosmiche-noise, rockin' riffs and much more. ... Click to View


Zeitkratzer: Column One: Entropium (KARLRECORDS)

Reinhold Friedl leads Zeitkratzer through five compositions transcribed from works of the Berlin based Dada and Surrealist inspired electroacoustic / industrial collective Column One, recorded live in performance at Berghain during MaerzMusik 2012. ... 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:


Otomo Yoshihide :
Guitar Solo
2015 LEFT
(Doubtmusic)



Joe Morris :
Solos - Bimhuis
(Relative Pitch)



Sun Ra and His
Intergalactic Myth
Science Solar Arkestra:
Sleeping Beauty
[VINYL]
(KS Art Yard Series)



ISKRA 1903 (
Rutherford /
Bailey /
Guy):
Chapter One (
1970-2)
[3 CDs]
(Emanem)



Brotzmann /
Van Hove /
Bennink:
FMP 0130
[VINYL]
(Cien Fuegos)



Rob Mazurek /
Exploding Star Orchestra:
Galactic Parables:
Volume 1
[2 CDs]
(Cuneiform)



Chicago Reed Quartet

(Mazzarella /
Rempis /
Williams /
Vandermark):
Western Automatic
(Aerophonic)



Rempis Percussion Quartet, The
(w/ Haker-Flaten /
Rosaly /
Daisy):
Cash And Carry
(Aerophonic)



Fred Frith /
Evan Parker:
Hello, I Must
Be Going
(Victo)



Henry Threadgill & Zooid:
In for a Penny,
In for a Pound
[2 CDs]
(Pi Recordings)



Joshua Abrams:
Magnetoception
[VINYL]
(Eremite)



The: Renga Ensemble
Falzone /
Vandermark /
Jackson /
Rothenberg /
Stein /
Goldberg:
The Room Is
(Allos Documents)



Last Exit:
Iron Path
(ESP)



Ghost Rhythms:
Madeleine
[2 CDs]
(LEM)



Jim O'Rourke:
Simple Songs
(Drag City)



Frode Gjerstad Trio (
w/ Paal Nilssen-Love /
Jon Rune Strom):
Miyazaki
(FMR)



Paul Dunmall /
Tony Bianco:
Autumn
(FMR)



Hubweber /
Schubert /
Schlippenbach /
Thomas /
Wllers:
Intricacies
[2 CDs]
(NoBusiness)



Stefan Keune /
Dominic Lash /
Steve Noble:
Fractions
[VINYL]
(NoBusiness)



Convergence Quartet (
Taylor Ho Bynum /
Alexander Hawkins /
Dominic Lash /
Harris Eisenstadt):
Owl Jacket
[VINYL]
(NoBusiness)







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 © 2014 Squidco. All rights reserved. Trademarks. (1094)