Thursday, March 23, 2006

David Murray Trio: Live '93 Acoustic Octfunk

The trio here consists of tenor sax (David Murray), drums (Andrew Cyrille) and bass (Fred Hopkins). Murray is known for being a freeish, abstract player, but with some grounding to the chord changes.

The first track on this album leads into a groovy sort-of calypso pattern, a bit like Sonny Rollin's St. Thomas. Murray is all over the range of the horn, squealing, honking, and making a mess of scales and note clusters - but not in a completely bad way. Lots of emotion and melody does come out through his extended solo on the first track, Calle Estrella. It's not as bad as all that (did I make it sound like noise?), and actually can even be relaxing... in an unrestrainted, but somehow not uncalm, way. Good use of control may be what makes this happen.

Like the title says, this is a live album and there is some crowd cheers and applause popping in here and there, which helps the musical environment take shape in your head as you listen. The trio does get people going at times.

The second track, Joanne's Green Satin Dress, crawls along in a meandering, curious way. Feels exploratory.

Next we get into more traditional bop-speed jazz in a performance of Mr. P.C, then Flowers for Albert (as once or twice before, another bass-only solo here while the drums and horn drop out - and a somewhat chaotic horn cadenza), and wrapping up with Acoustic Octfunk, where what sounds like a bass clarinet comes out to play. This last number is the only track where I felt there was more of a funky feel, which is fine by me. Given the title of the disc, I was slightly worried that it would be a bunch of funk jams.

All in all, a nice record. May work best when you want to feel like you're out at a jazz festival (maybe outdoors?), listening to a trio push a few boundaries here and there while remaining musical and having fun.

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