Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I Want to Talk about David Murray and Trane

One of the great things about eMusic, if you have one of their premium plans, is that it allows you to have affairs with this or that jazz genius. In the last year I have fallen head over heels in love with Booker Ervin, Sonny Criss, Steve Lacy, Mal Waldron, Steve Lacy and Mal Waldron, Arthur Blythe, and lately David Murray. Funny how they all play sax.

David Murray made his mark in avant garde jazz with two classic recordings, Ming, and Home. These are very challenging albums. Thereafter he seems to have abandoned pure free jazz for a career digging into the history of jazz. But he never let go of his avant garde genie. I have been listening to several Murray albums lately: The Hill, Body and Soul, and I Want to Talk about You. They are all good examples of someone who has been there to the avant garde extreme and back. I think I like them most in succession. The Hill keeps tempting me to climb it, but it's a strenuous climb for the most part. Body and Soul is about half and half: some of it very accessible, and some not so much. But I Want to Talk about You is delicious all the way through.

Murray's course through the heavens can perhaps be measured in relation to that dark star John Coltrane. Almost every important Jazz musician has been pulled into orbit around Trane. Here is an interesting koan: listen to Murray's recording of "I Want to Talk about You," and the follow it with Trane's interpretation. Here they are:
John Coltrane/I Want to Talk About You/European Tours

David Murray/I Want to Talk About You/I Want to Talk About You
That's a lot of jazz joy in two packages. Give 'em a listen. Comment if you like what you hear.

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