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David Murray Octets - The Complete Remastered Recordings on Black Saint & Soul Note [Box set, Original recording remastered]

David Murray Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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David Murray's recorded output has included solo dates, sessions with quartets, quintets, octets, big bands and duos, for numerous European labels (notably Italy's Black Saint), as well as for Japan's DIW label. In addition, he has recorded with Music Revelation Ensemble, Clarinet Summit, and Jack DeJohnette's Special Addition (ECM). Murray is also a founding member, with ... Read more in Amazon's David Murray Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (27 Jun 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Format: Box set, Original recording remastered
  • Label: CamJazz
  • ASIN: B004VFYPBA
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 150,016 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Formidable Musical Ensemble 1 Nov 2011
By ACB (swansea) TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
David Murray has been a prolific recording artist embracing bebop, swing, freeform,rhythm and blues plus his ensemble works ,these being represented in these remastered 'Black Saint & Soul' octets. The sound is excellent. The albums are 'Ming','Steps','New Life','Home' and 'Hope Scope' in a box set. Murray started his development from a family background of a mother who was a gospel-piano player. After a spell of stride piano, Murray took to the alto sax accompanying his mother. Still in his teens he was playing tenor sax in varying environments including 'free jazz'. He has also expressed himself in a soulful way on bass clarinet. His basic tradition allied to his precocious talent and experience lead him into composition and arrangements. He has combined his musical knowledge with a blend of Mingus's traditional call and shout collectiveness, Ellington's instrumental weaving producing distinctive individualistic sounds in an ensemble format. Touches of Basie's use of soloists and reed sections add to the effect.

Murray composed and arranged all numbers except Craig Harris's 'Same Places' and Ralph Peterson's 'Thabo' on CD5. 'Ming' opens with the hectic 'Fast Life' reminiscent of Mingus's work. 'Jasvan' gives ample space for the soloists on a waltz-like background. 'Ming' is a ballad that beautifully contrasts with the maniacal 'The Hill'. 'Home' is in similar vein by the same octet. The opening title is a moving ballad with a sublime horn mix. 'Last of the Hipmen' is almost Ellingtonian with Anthony Davis and Steve McCall in great soloistic form. 'Choctaw Blues' features bass clarinet and bowed bass. 'Murray's Steps' is presented by a different line-up yet is enjoyably interesting including the oft-recorded 'Flowers For Albert'.'Hope Scope' was released four years after its recording.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A neat collection. 4 Aug 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is a box set of a series of recordings I first had on L P and now on hearing them again, having sold my L P collection for a vital nest egg at the time, I now realize the tremendous amount of Music that has been missing off my shelf. Having met David Murray later on from when these were recorded I have to admit a form of bias towards him, he was a nice guy to meet and along with other works now in my collection I would advise anyone to delve into his recording if you can. This and his later works show him to be a player of great strength and beauty and well worth a listen.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW! MURRAY'S 80'S OCTET WORK IN ONE BOX-SOME OF HIS BEST WORK 28 Nov 2011
By Stuart Jefferson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Five discs-39,37,40,40,43 minutes each approximately. The remastered sound is crisp and clean and open sounding. Each disc comes in it's original album cover. These are inside a fairly substantial cardboard box, which lists the album titles, players, and song titles on the rverse. There's no booklet, just whatever notes or information is on the back of each cardboard holder.

As the title states, this set contains all the albums Murray recorded with his octet group for the Black Saint/Soul Note label. This is just one of several sets they've released, in the same format, featuring other fine jazz musicians-check them out!

The two albums most jazz fans will be familiar with are "Ming" (1980) and "Home" (1981). Both albums feature some very fine musicians besides Murray-including Olu Dara-trumpet, Butch Morris-clarinet, George Lewis-trombone, Henry Threadgill-alto sax (and who has a fine box set in this series), Anthony Davis-piano, Wilbur Morris-bass, and Steve McCall-drums. All of these musicians have recorded under their own names, and/or accompanied many other jazz performers over the years.

Both the above albums are (arguably) two of the finest albums Murray ever recorded, and are certainly two of the finest albums of their era. That both albums are still revered all these years later speaks volumes about Murray, his group, and the music they recorded. Both albums are a synthesis of jazz and musical genres from previous eras. In the best of these tracks can be heard the blues, bits of straight ahead jazz, and what some consider "free form" or "outside" jazz. But don't let that put you off from hearing some of the very best jazz recorded in the 80's and, as I wrote, some of the best jazz Murray ever put down. Compositions like "The Hill", "Ming", and "Jasvan" are breath-stealing experiences, and point the way Murray was taking his music in an octet setting. For me, Murray was always at the top of his game when playing slower tunes, or when he slowed things down in otherwise faster tempo songs. Both "Ming" and "Home" have fine examples of this style.

"Murray's Steps" recorded in 1982, features Murray, Henry Threadgill-alto sax/flute, Bobby Bradford-trumpet, Butch Morris-cornet, Craig Harris-trombone, Curtis Clark-piano, Wilbur Morris-bass, and Steve McCall-percussion. This is another fine set, with the title track a combination of the blues and straight ahead jazz, and his mastery of both up tempo and slower arrangements. A good example of his slower work is "Sweet Lovely", played relatively straight forward and very prettily. All the tunes are by Murray and show his continuing skill at writing and arranging (not to mention his playing) intelligent warm compositions. Of course having a great arranger in Butch Morris doesn't hinder things either. This album is a highpoint on this set-it's both accessible yet has a flowing intelligence to it.

"New Life", from 1985, with it's big band sound and style of arrangements, is an album more jazz listeners should know about. Again, with just four longish tracks, Murray takes the band (and us) into a world of-plain and simple-high quality jazz, both in the arrangements and playing. The first track, "Train Whistle" has some fine trumpet work by Baikida Carroll or Hugh Ragin. Murray's bass clarinet is a combination of old time big band and a more forward thinking style. And the whole time that's going on the band plays some subtle grooves of their own, and when they all come together the music just about jumps out of the speakers. Other players include Craig Harris-trombone (heard to good effect in several spots),John Purcell-alto sax, Steve Colson-piano, Wilbur Morris-bass, and Ralph Peterson Jr.-drums. Together this band can play just about anything-big band, contemporary jazz, or a combination of those styles with (again) the blues mixed in. For a good example of this hear "Morning Song". The playing is simply exemplary. The same can be said for "New Life", a loose but together composition with the band slowing down to play some very pretty melodies-but still sounding fresh and contemporary.

"Hope Scope", recorded in 1987, has a sophisticated feel running through five compositions. The composition "Ben" ha s some very fine trumpet work by Hugh Ragin (along with Raul Siddik). And with Harris on trombone, the underrated James Spaulding on alto sax-both filling in the music, Dave Burrell (who has recorded some fine music in Europe)-piano, and both Morris and Peterson Jr. holding down the rhythm section, this is one hot, dangerous band. The title track is another great example of Murray's writing and his octet's playing abilities. The subtle stop-start with the entire band playing over and with each other is very exciting, visceral jazz at it's best. "Same Places New Faces" (written by Craig Harris) is a good example of up tempo, swinging jazz with a modern twist. The band plays some old style hot passages, and then morphs into a (held in check) free for all that is a fine synthesis of both older and newer jazz styles. "Lester" begins with some fine piano work by Burrell, again a combination of both older and newer jazz styles. The melody is hidden in some abstract playing-but not for long. The band comes in and plays some gorgeous music-very full and emotional sounding-similar to styles big bands were playing during that era. Again, this is another example of Murray's skill with a ballad, or at least with slower passages in his compositions.
"Thabo" is a more or less straight ahead composition played in something close to that style. This album too, is another high point (of many) in this set.

This, along with Henry Threadgill's set in this series, is one of the better collections of jazz from a period when jazz was still a living, breathing, going concern. Anyone wishing to hear some of the finest (then) contemporary music-music that still has all it's powers intact today-would do well in picking this box set up the first chance you have. This is jazz that keeps on giving the more you listen to it. Murray's writing and arranging, the many very fine musicians he filled his octet with, come together in some of the best, most important, exciting music jazz has produced during that (and any other) era. Just listen to any track on any album here-you'll hear what I mean.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High-stepping ebullience from the triple-threat jazz giant of the '80's 25 Nov 2011
By Thomas Plotkin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Tenor saxophonist David Murray (born in 1955) skyrocketed to jazz stardom in the late '70's based on his gruff,volcanic, earthy style, seeming omnipresence on the club and festival circuit, catholic taste (running from free jazz to funk to organ combo dates to swanky big bands to the elegant chamber classicism of the World Saxophone Quartet) recording innumerable albums in every context imaginable, but his octet, largely anthologized here, was his definitive setting, as this group best showed off his skills as a soloist, composer and bandleader.
These five records, recorded between '80 and '87, represent the best little big band since Mingus' '60's heyday. The first three cd's feature a spectacular cast of sidemen who at that time were tremendous composer/leaders in their own right - Henry Threadgill, Butch Morris, Olu Dara, Bobby Bradford, George Lewis, Steve McCall, Anthony Davis. (later on these would be replaced by luminaries like Dave Burrell, Craig Harris, James Spaulding and Ralph Peterson Jr.)Surrounded by cats of that caliber, most of them a generation older, Murray shows he is generous with the spotlight and unafraid of competition. But at the center sits the man above the title, David Murray at his 25 year old peak (on the earliest disc here), a prodigious soloist, bandleader, composer, whose tunes evoke a high stepping optimism with complex shouting polyphony, while Murray the tenor saxophonist conjures up the whole history of his instrument from Ben Webster to Albert Ayler, often in a single flurry of notes, encompassing registers on the horn I never knew existed. (too rarely he pulls out his second horn, the bass clarinet, which he blows in a woodsy, hoarse "tenoristic" manner, like a baritone Sonny Rollins, that banishes any memory of Eric Dolphy, his nearest competitor on the axe). This is '80's jazz neoclassicism that unlike its contemporaneous Marsalis version, encompassed the avant garde as well as the ellingtonian and new orleans traditions.
The records herein are Ming, Home, New Life, Murray's Steps, and Hope Scope. They descend in quality over time from the essential (the first two) to the merely great. Fans should seek out this bands last good album, 1992's Picasso, on DIW, out of print and expensive, but worth it for the title suite, which pays simultaneous hommage to the catalan painter and Coleman Hawkins, orchestrating the latter's eponymous solo saxophone piece in the middle of the long form composition.
Murray's accomplishment, bridging the post-Ayler loft tradition with a compositional voice with deep roots in blues, gospel, 32-bar balladry and brassy big bland voluptuousness, is perfectly represented here, and this set is an ideal Xmas gift for the jazz enthusiast in your life - it's like a bottomless box of chocolates, some of the very finest post-60's jazz in one neat little package (unfortunately Stanley Crouch's excellent liner notes for the first three albums are either illegible in the mini-album format or simply not reproduced - yes, Murray was Crouch's talisman and student for quite a while, till he jilted him for Wynton; incredibly, given his tastes today, Crouch used to actually take credit for introducing young Murray to Ayler's ecstatic catarwaul, a listening party one can not envisage Crouch having with Marsalis!).
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars David Murray Again ! SuperMurray ! 6 Mar 2012
By Ad Arma - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
David Murray.
The man is a living legend..and still going young/and/strong with good speed and big- blowin' lungs! Murray has this typical heavy deep and sometimes squeeckin' sound.. It is a very original and caracteristic sound but also has incorporated the sounds of Coltrane, Saunders etc. You know what I mean.
He just doesn't hold back. Gives it all at the moment itself. Have seen him a few days ago, again ! Second time.
It was at the BIM-huis Amsterdam. Can't say it often enough; when you are in Amsterdam, also go to the BIMHUIS ! Superlocation at the wide water of the IJ and super-programming!
Murray pulled a full house. Bass/drum/piano/sax - the 'Black Music Infinity'- Quartet ! To my regret thed last recoding of this group was not arrived yet..
He seemed to have enjoyed himself that day as he told us from stage to have spent the full day in our New Amsterdam Library ! Then the concert started, a new young pianist, first time , his old pal on Bass and the drummer was Hamid Drake (!)..
Sphere was fine, pianist started a bit shy, but slowly- during the concert, went to unroll a very interesting, bit McCoyTyner-like tone-tapid-approach. Once he was sending in the heavier tones in between the rollings I started to enjoy him. Drake was OK, ofcourse ! Though.. One thing.. When Murray left the front for a while to recuperate from his supersessions, the group went into a solo/exchange/session.
They all three remained support-playing while the solo's were going
and there I had the feeling they should have stopped and left the soloists go a bit higher and deeper in the specific own soundspace. Hamid did three good solo's but never went really into depth and skill, it was solid, good, but we were not left in sigh, just neatly kept in shape of the rithms.. As the group refers to the famous 'jazz-loft sessions', a bit more caracter and dearing would have been expectable..
So it was as if Hamid Drake gave three times the same solo. This was also the case with the Bass. But the pianist did good in that frame, better, specially later-on, after the break, in the second part ! Enjoyed it to hear him climbing in his role and maybe the other guys did the supportsounds in order to let him move into the shape of the group? Murray was the Master, as allways. Full motion, deep diggin', stretching his solo's till far after the silence of the ending of the song by his mates, goin'up and down. Man, what a player ! WOW! The first number after the break was a first timer. Not even a title yet. I suggest 'The Amsterdam Libray Lady Swing'! It had a swing, a move and deep introspection and intelligence in it.
Allways an honour to be the first to hear a song !! Ánd.. that happened twice that night.. He also honourated the question for a ballad coming from the audience.. A new ballad, a ballad he has written for a movie not yet to be seen..
It was a marvelous piece ! Wow, shaped while made !
Murray is a class on itself. And this set of Octet-Discs that I took with me from the CD-stand there.. It is all fantastic ! Solid quality ! Good price for such a load of SuperMurray ! The concert in Amsterdam ended without the after-gift when the young pianist allmost fell from his sit because his hands were overheated.. That's the spirit !(And the loveley ladyface on the cover of the first CD inside the box..think I've seen her in the audience !)
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kick Off Those Jive Ass Slippers 20 Oct 2012
By Vaughan Otter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The Black Saint / Soul Note Remaster series is a goldmine offering some of the most creative jazz of the 80's at 3-for-1 prices, in a compact format with original cover art. This particular box contains David Murray's first five Octet recordings for Black Saint.

The musicians assembled for Ming made the Octet's debut an all-star affair, drawing attention for expanding the boundaries of traditional forms without sacrificing passion and swing. For Murray, this project fit nicely with his dual participation in the World Saxophone Quartet.

The same group returns for Home with similar material, while showing some benefit from collective experience. As with Ming we hear Murray composing like Ellington or Mingus while playing like Coltrane or Ayler. The latter two debts would be firmly acknowledged on the Octet's next release. But here Murray does more than simply recycle old ideas, and his octet blows the roof off at every opportunity.

After rocking the house for two albums, the band seems to ease up a little on Murray's Steps, shifting attention to melody and individual solos. While all songs are credited to Murray, Threadgill seems to be shaping the octet's palette on two out of four tracks, and the combination of propulsion and suspension takes some wind out of the sails*. If not for Flowers for Albert, one of the standout tracks of this entire collection, Murray's Steps might be considered a disappointment by the standards that came before.

No surprise that more changes came with New Life, the next album. Murray was moving into other projects and his Big Band album was a commercial success. Threadgill was gone and four other positions had changed hands since Ming. Murray's material moves to safer ground, closer to Mingus, with a New Orleans-style blowout on the second track, as if to say all is well again. Yet the band sounds too inhibited, as if afraid to make a mistake. Only the title track captures much of the joyful delirium of previous albums. This is the beardless version of the David Murray Octet, the one you can play at Grandma's house.

With Dave Burrell arriving on piano, the Octet comes back swingin' on Hope Scope, the fifth and final album in this collection. While Murray doesn't break new ground, he's back on top of his game. This is a completely solid set from start to finish and the octet sounds fresh and inspired. If expectations were lowered by New Life, one can find relief to hear this collection close on the good foot.

*While I may sound critical of Henry Threadgill in this review, I generally prefer his music to Murray's, and I must add the remastered collection of his Black Saint recordings to my recommendation, as well as his latest release with Zooid: Tomorrow Sunny & The Revelry
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE ART OF THE OCTEC 9 Mar 2012
By Manuel Grosso Galvan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This box with all the octet of David Murray from 80 to 90 for the label Soul Note/ Black Saint containg the best jazz music of this decade. Incredible musicians and in incredible music, really the best. Five original albums, Ming, Home, Murray¨s Steps and Hope Scope, with the originals cover and a nice box and a very good price. Now , 30 years after everybody can undertand the important of this music. Now is clear that Murray is a real giant of jazz. In this five CD you can find all the story of jazz, all the influence, all the meanings from the most important music of S.XX. The arrangements are incredible and the composition are deep and brilliant. From classic jazz to free jazz, all together and in the same time. Is a fantastic treasure to find this works again and remastered. The musicians are also the more import an and influence of this time. I love this box, I can hear from Ellinton to Mingus, from blues to avant-garde. This box probably is one of the best of the las year and one of the more influence in the new jazz today. You can not find something too excellent like this octets in his days. Perfect box, for perfect music and probably the more important period of a legend, David Murray
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