Sun Ra - Venice, Italy 11/24/77 (DVD) This is a short television broadcast of an interview and solo piano recital in Venice. There is some great footage of Sun Ra walking around the ancient city, brooding on the nature of mankind. Too bad most of the interview is illegible as Ra's rant is translated into Italian. Some of the English seeps through however as Ra speaks of the happiness he finds when he travels to other dimensions! The piano concert is pretty short and is recorded in a studio. Ra's piano is fascinating to watch, because it was often obscured by his direction of the band, like Duke Ellington's. Ra's piano technique betrays his swing influences, while at the same time using some odd flourishes a la Thelonious Monk. Interesting stuff - just which I spoke Italian!
David Murray Octfunk Quartet - Berkeley, CA 7/8/91 This concert catches David Murray in a quartet setting in his old California stomping grounds. Backed by guitar, bass and drums he truly does bring the funk although the "oct" is something of a mystery. Murray grew up playing R&B and gospel, so this is hardly a stretch for him and and his slightly hysterical tenor saxophone fits right in with the proceedings as he weeps and wails over a bluesy, funky groove. "High Priest" takes things to the mountain from the jump and "Blues for Savannah" proves that while Murray may be categorized as an avant-gardist, his true allegiance lies with the classic blues and ballad tenor players like Ben Webster and Paul Gonsalves. Good stuff.
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