Friday, May 13, 2016

David Murray / Geri Allen / Terri Lyne Carrington - Perfection (Motema, 2016)

This is a very exciting album from a group of veterans: David Murray on tenor saxophone and bass clarinet, Geri Allen on piano and Terri Lyne Carrington on drums. The album is dedicated to Ornette Coleman, who passed away just days before the recording. It album features (and is named after) “Perfection,” Coleman's never before recorded composition. “Mirror of Youth” opens the album with the wonderful, deep and resonant tone of David Murray’s tenor saxophone, playing against a tricky rhythm set up by Allen and Carrington. This soon becomes a strong thicket, as the drums begin to thrash and strong rippling piano washes through it. Murray is at his ripe and muscular best and he tears right through, bursting through into the highest register of the saxophone as he often does to punctuate the performance in a very exciting manner. There’s a big brawny sound that opens “Geri-Rigged” before Allen and Carrington drop down to a nervous chatter. But not for long as three musicians burst forth and build with strapping power. Murray sounds truly inspired by Carrington’s no hold’s barred drumming as they take off in a pianoless setting. This is hard-core post bop jazz at its finest and it is just thrilling to listen to. Murray taps out and Allen re-enters for a stomping piano and drums section before Murray returns, the trio becomes whole and there is a lights-out conclusion. “The David, Geri and Terri Show” has a very cool rhythm being developed from piano and drums, and shows Murray coming in swinging hard. The music is edgy with tinges of funk, and Allen holds Murray on his toes by comping aggressively and tossing in some Thelonious Monk like skewed notes, that keep things deliciously off kilter, and Carrington and Murray respond to her beautifully. The title track “Perfection” is the ringer, adding three musicians to the mix, Charnett Moffett on bass, Craig Harris on trombone and Wallace Roney Jr. on trumpet. The group sounds even bigger, like something from a classic David Murray Octet album such as Ming or Home. With the trombone pushing and Moffett’s massive bass tone the music hits with a huge like wallop. Murray lopes in, sounding ecstatic, as if he had found the fountain of youth like when he was making his 1980’s classics. The younger Roney sneaks in a stomping trumpet solo along with some epic piano, bass and drums. Perfection indeed. It wouldn’t be a David Murray album without sampling his fine bass clarinet playing, and “D Special (interlude)” gives us a short dose of that unusual instrument. Murray plays the unwieldy horn with grace and the piano and drums fall in with him, giving him a nice angular swing that is perfect to showcase the unique timbre of the instrument. This was a wonderful album and an inspired meeting of the minds. All three of these musicians have busy schedules, but I hope that they can make recordings a regular occurrence. Perfection -

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