Saturday, March 15, 2014

David Murray - NYC 1986 (DIW, 1986)

During the 1980’s tenor saxophonist and bass clarinet player David Murray made dozens of recordings for a variety of labels, but few match the strength and wealth of ideas displayed on this one. This is a thrilling and consistently well played album where Murray sticks to tenor saxophone in the company of James “Blood” Ulmer on guitar, Fred Hopkins on bass and Sunny Murray on drums. “Red Car” opens the album in a confident manner featuring Murray’s swaggering saxophone with hints of rhythm and blues leading a brawny and self assured manner. “Long Goodbye” by Butch Morris is a slow and haunting musical painting of loss with Murray accenting the sadness with wails of high pitched saxophone. “Kareem” is a tough grinding performance like a portrait of life on the city streets. Murray spools out a long muscular saxophone solo, moving way out over Ulmer’s prickly guitar. Presumably dedicated to the legendary saxophonist Ben Webster, “According to Webster” is very exciting performance where Murray swings hard as he builds the energy higher and higher, absolutely killing it, erupting wave after wave of thrilling sound over a powerful backdrop. “Patricia” opens with droning bass and Murray developing a spiritually tinged tone. Building a shrill tone reminiscent of Spiritual Unity period Albert Ayler, abetted by sharp and jagged guitar playing. Finally, the lengthy “Light Years” caps off the album with the band blasting out of the gate and allowing for a guitar spotlight and a section for bowed bass. But the real star is Murray who dishes out a mighty force of nature solo that is just outrageous in its excitement. Recently there have been a couple of great boxed sets of David Murray’s Black Saint/Soul Note recordings. Hopefully his DIW recordings can get the same treatment, and gems like this can get the attention they deserve. N.Y.C. 1986 -

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