David Murray: Infinity Quartet

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: David Murray
LABELS: Motema
ALBUM TITLE: David Murray: Infinity Quartet
WORKS: Infinity Quartet
PERFORMER: David Murray (saxophone), Marc Cary (piano, organ), Nasheet Waits (drums), Jaribu Shahid (bass)
CATALOGUE NO: 233724

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After the almost-obligatory avant-garde saxophonists’ apprenticeship in R&B bands, Murray came to notice as a participant in the 1970s New York loft movement, and soon constituted the World Saxophone Quartet with Julius Hemphill, Hamiett Bluiett and Oliver Lake, fellow members of that scene.

He has done his share of left-field exploration, but it is probably the classic elements of his playing (he has always cited Ellington-stalwart Paul Gonsalves as an idol) that has made his music and reputation so durable. Here he wraps his big, emotional tone around a variety of material, from post-bop workouts, via the gospel-based ‘Army of the Faithful’, to ballads with unsettling lyrics. He is on impudently fine, exploratory form, benefiting from supportive playing by his quartet colleagues – especially Cary’s tasty piano – plus Gray on one track and Porter on three. Murray’s one-time tutor, Bobby Bradford, is featured on cornet on ‘The Graduate’. 

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Barry Witherden