Sunday, January 05, 2014

David Murray - The Complete Remastered Recordings Vol.2 (Black Saint/Soul Note

The second boxed set of remastered albums from saxophonist and bass clarinetist David Murray which includes the albums Sweet Lovely, Morning Song, I Want To Talk About You, The Hill, A Sanctuary Within, Body And Soul and Windward Passages. While the previous set focused on Murray’s lauded octet recordings, and this collection ranges from duo to quartet settings, showing Murray’s range in different areas. A couple of albums are still held back, so hopefully there will be a third set coming down the road. Sweet Lovely is a trio recording with Fred Hopkins on bass and Steve McCall on drums. This album shows Albert Ayler's influence on Murray, recalling at times the classic Ayler album Spiritual Unity. The music is very open ended, especially on the middle performances, “Corozon” and “The Hill.” The album titled The Hill is one of Murray’s finest, where he is in the company of the incomparable Richard Davis on bass and Joe Chambers on drums. This is a varied and consistently thrilling album where Murray seamlessly melds his avant-garde Ayler influences with those of swing era titans like Ben Webster and Paul Gonsalves. The trio is a completely integrated unit, rolling through Murray’s own “Santa Barbara and Crenshaw Follies” and “The Hill” but also swinging beautifully on “Take the Coltrane” and "Chelsea Bridge." I Want to Talk About You is seen in some places as the runt of this particular litter but the group including John Hicks on piano, Ray Drummond on bass and Ralph Peterson on drums does manage some funk on “Red Car” and a launching pad for a torrid Murray solo on “Morning Song.” An album in its own right, Morning Song has a cracking band with Murray and Hicks and then Reggie Workman on bass and Ed Blackwell on drums. The play together nicely whether on Murray originals or the standards “Jitterbug Waltz” and “Body and Soul.” The Body and Soul LP has Murray sharing the stage with Sonelius Smith on piano Wilbur Morris on bass and Rasheid Ali on drums. The title strong is played in a relatively straight-forward manner with a female vocalist added. This album also features Smith’s composition and ends with the blowout “Cuttin’ Corners.” A Sanctuary Within is a lengthy quartet album where Murray meets another legendary free-jazz drummer, Sunny Murray, along with Tony Overwater on bass and Kahil El'Zabar on percussion and vocals. El’Zabar and Sunny Murray lock in nicely and there is a great rhythmic nature to the music that propels Murray forward to great heights. Finally, there is an unusual setting for Murray, placing him in a duet setting with pianist Dave Burrell on the album Windward Passages. They are quite sympathetic to each other, playing a wide ranging setlist, ranging from originals by both musicians along with two versions of the classic John Coltrane ballad “Naima” and a nice performance of Jelly Roll Morton’s “The Crave.”

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