Murray is one of the masters of free jazz drumming and here he’s paired up with the Sam Rivers influenced multi reedman Sabir Mateen who does a little leather lunged fire breathing on alto saxophone, and also throws in some deft post-bop touches, especially on “Top Dog’s Boogie” where he’s just hell for leather over a twenty minute improvisation. There’s an ominous, quiet drums solo from Murray on the same track like distant thunder building, and a very nice spot for special guest Dave Burrell on piano who takes a wonderfully full sounding piano solo.
Top Dog is just killer stuff. There’s a deep rhythmic drum solo from Murray to boot, definitely the highpoint of the album. Another great moment is when the group launches into the mournful haunted melody of Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman” with Louis Belugenis on tenor saxophone and Alan Silva on bass rounding out the sound and adding some heft to this classic composition. All in all this is an excellent free jazz compact disc, so if you like the stuff from the outer fringes (although truth be told, this isn’t really super wild) you’ll really enjoy this. Can’t wait to hear the first one!