Alon Marcus

David Murray

224 posts in this topic

One of the most important figures in the modern jazz world.

What do you think about him?

What Murray albums you like (leader/sideman) and what albums you dislike?

...and one more important thing today is David's birthday so:

Happy Birthday to mr. Murray!

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Alon, You beat me to it. Mr Murray 50 today. Happy birthday David. I've been a fan since I heard Flowers for Albert back in 1976. He's given me so much pleasure, live and on record over the years.

I can't think of one album I dislike, some I like less than others. Favouritestoo many to choose from but I've always had a soft spot for "David Murray" on DIW. That's the one with Ulmer, Hopkins and Sunny Murray.

Cheers David. Thanks a lot.

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There are so, so many recordings which vary in overall quality however each one has something to offer. I used to catch David Murray back in the '70s, most often at Sam Rivers' Studio Rivbea in the east Village where I hung out a lot. Good person.

In any event, among all I have which is considerable but not completist, I enjoy this one alot (Pullen on organ is terrific!):

c44576ha99j.jpg

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Murray is outstanding on the new Henry Grimes album.

The things that have always "had me wondering" about his is the way he plays eigth notes. Very "herky jerky", and not in a "swinging" way (for point of comparison, Braxton is similarly herky-jerky, but in a swinging way, at least the way I hear/feel it). Plus, I think he's sometimes been rather unfocused in his energy, having a tendency to spew rather than play. Sometimes.

But aside from that, I've always enjoyed his work. His dedication is unquestionable, and his willingness to play (seriously plsy, not just show up for the gig) in a wide variety of contexts is exemplary, as is his dedication to continuing to getting his "changes" together (the "Body & Soul" on MORNING song is a good example of well-meant but neverthless outright WRONG notes, notes that can't be expailned any other way. Again, you can use Braxton as a point of comparison). The above-mentioned reservations aside, I think he's been one of the more admirable and enjoyable voices the music has offered us over the last 25-30 years.

In regard to the Grimes album, Murray provides a most effective synthesis of his early "energy" approach with the more technical/theoretical "disciplined" aims of much of his later works. In otehr words, no skating in either emotion or chops. It's a very powerful performance. He was probably nudged along by the circumstances of the gig, but still, it shows that the guy's been continuing to develop and hone his art/craft at an age when a lot of players begin to "settle".

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Florence, April 3, 2004

Henry Grimes Trio, w/David Murray & Hamid Drake

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I hear what Jim is saying and take his account of Murray's development on faith, but I pretty much stopped listening to him some years ago because I had some of the same reactions as Jim did to the musical specifics of Murray's "Morning Song" and prior efforts and felt -- I don't know -- put off/angry/bewildered/whatever that a guy this unprepared, harmonically and rhythmically in particular, could be placed (or place himself) before the public in such a prominent manner. I know, everybody's got to begin someplace, but Murray's aura was that of a beginner pretending that he was hot shit. In turn, I smelled bull shit and/or a desire in some quarters to will a guy like Murray into being the guy Murray thought/was saying he was. I recall in particular a distastrous early '80s Murray engagment at the Jazz Showcase, with John Hicks, Ray Drummond, and Ed Blackwell. As I think I've said before here, Murray's time was so all over the place that he sounded like Charlie Ventura on roller skates. And playing "free" had nothing to do with it -- that wasn't the style that he and the group were going for, and what he was playing wouldn't have worked rhythmically in any context; no reliable sense at all in Murray's playing (at that time) of where "one" was, which left Blackwell particularly distressed. Typically perhaps, the review I wrote of the performance led to accusations that I was a racist.

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Amplifying a bit, it seemed to me that, for one, Ed Wilkerson Jr. -- as a player, composer, and bandleader -- was everything that Murray wanted, or was pretending, to be but was not. As someone once put it: Behold -- The Clothing's New Emperor.

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:g:g:g:g:g:g:g:g:g:g

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Eloe Omoe - nice picture.

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He's only 50?

But he's got enough albums out there for a 200-year old guy! ;)

Seriously, I dig a lot of what he does, but I haven't really listened to many of his albums in a while. When I was younger and still learning the ropes, he was one of the guys who, while not too "out there," played with more intensity (or just modernity) than most of the guys that I listened to at the time. Now obviously my horizons have expanded over the years and Murray now sounds a lot more mainstream to me. But I still like that he tries so many different types of combos and "theme" albums, like his Grateful Dead and Coltrane tributes. The big band that he did with Butch Morris and the organ jazz discs are particular favorites, as well as some of his DIW quartet albums.

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Eloe Omoe - nice picture.

Thanks - here's another one.

Luca

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That's a truly great one, Luca, one to ponder on for a good while.

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Murray is outstanding on the new Henry Grimes album.

Jim, did you get that direct from Ayler Records, or is there a stateside distributor? (Cadence, I'm guessing.)

What do all here think of Murray's octet recordings? I like what I've heard...

Edited by ghost of miles

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Cadence.

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What do all here think of Murray's octet recordings? I like what I've heard...

Murray's Octet recordings may be my favorite of his recordings. I think that group is the best exhibition of Murray's talents as a writer.

I am pretty certain the Grimes is available from Cadence as well as Jazz Loft.

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Two geat pics Luca. Thanks for posting.

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well, I played one gig with Murray, at the Knitting Factory, which was recorded (Mental Strain at Dawn - a Louis Armstrong program) - the problem with Murray is that, I think, he has some good ideas but has learned to coast on those ideas relative to audience reaction - some of his writing, is, indeed. intriguing, but I'm with Larry on this. On the bandstand he was nothing exceptional, and I know 20 tenors who can take that "inside-outside" thing and make something MUCH more of it - Larry's essay on this in his recent book is outstanding and should be rquired reading.

Edited by AllenLowe

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well, I played one gig with Murray, at the Knitting Factory, which was recorded (Mental Strain at Dawn - a Louis Armstrong program) - the problem with Murray is that, I think, he has some good ideas but has learned to coast on those ideas relative to audience reaction - some of his writing, is, indeed. intriguing, but I'm with Larry on this. On the bandstand he was nothing exceptional, and I know 20 tenors who can take that "inside-outside" thing and make something MUCH more of it - Larry's essay on this in his recent book is outstanding and should be rquired reading.

Why would I want to read an essay trashing one of my favorite players?

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it is not "trashing" Murray - it's an honest assessment. If you want to be engaged with this music you have to be willing to see different viewpoints -

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It may be an "honest assessment", but ultimately we are talking about subjective opinions and each listener is entitled to react differently. Right? For example, my reaction as a listener with no musical background and no understanding of the technical aspects or theory of the music is bound to be significantly different than Mr. Lowe's or Mr. Karts, both of whom have the understanding on a technical level of the music and would more readily be able to detect some of the noted short comings in Mr. Murray's playing.

Edited by relyles

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"Why would I want to read an essay trashing one of my favorite players?"

Encounter only views I already agree with, listen only to music I already like -- hey, it's a recipe that's always worked for me.

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"It may be an "honest assessment", but ultimately we are talking about subjective opinions and each listener is entitled to react differently. Right?"

We're not questioning anybody's right to disagree - there are things I disagreee with Larry on, and which are in his book. The point is (and this has nothing to do with how technically knowledgeable your are or are not) that good honest essays on jazz like Larry's enrich our point of view whether or not they coincide with our own viewpoints - it's not a matter of simply agreeing or disagreeing with him, but of allowing yourself to broaden your perspective. As it is with all good critics.

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I plan to read Mr. Kart's book eventually.

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Interesting discussion--I like Bill Evans quite a lot, but the first essay I read after getting LK's book as a birthday present was the death-threat-garnering piece on BE. I think Larry's points are very sound... and they've made me think more about Evans (particularly the Verve and Fantasy eras), but my listening pleasure hasn't been diminished by his quite worthwhile article. It's sort of like someone letting you know that that pizza is laden with artery-busting fat--but it still tastes delicious! Part of it depends on why you listen, on how you distribute the rationale for concluding that something or someone is worth hearing, and to what degree. Maybe I have a soft spot for the "pastoral," as Larry calls it; maybe that's something that upon further inspection I'll begin to discard, or perhaps it's just a personal aberration/characteristic that I'll be quite content to live with. I guess, Bill Clinton-like, I see both sides here; still, I'd be inclined to encourage folks to seek out those different viewpoints, because anything that potentially expands your intellectual/aesthetic horizons should be welcomed. More often than not you're going to go back to the music and hear it in a different way, which is always an exciting and edifying experience for me. There are quite a few very positive pieces by Larry in that book that bring about just that situation for me.

Edited by ghost of miles

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the problem with Murray is that, I think, he has some good ideas but has learned to coast on those ideas relative to audience reaction - some of his writing, is, indeed. intriguing, but I'm with Larry on this. On the bandstand he was nothing exceptional, and I know 20 tenors who can take that "inside-outside" thing and make something MUCH more of it - Larry's essay on this in his recent book is outstanding and should be rquired reading.

I couldn't say it better, Allen.

I've been listening to him since the Studio Rivbea days and I have always thought there was more fluff than substance in/to him.

The Wynton of the Avant Garde!

To paraphrase Miles: I'd rather hear Henry Threadgill or John Stubblefield fart through their horns than listen to one of Murrary's long and lame solos.

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