- Audio CD (18 Aug 2003)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Black Saint
- ASIN: B0000010WM
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 296,767 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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The Oakland-born Murray arrived in New York City in 1975 at age 20 and quickly established himself as a force on the "Loft Jazz" scene, a brief but important jazz movement. Rather than seek their fortune with the jazz fusion that was popular at the time, Murray and his loft co-horts sought to consolidate the ideas of the avant garde and free jazz movements of the Sixties and Seventies while adding their own ideas. It was an exciting period, and David Murray soon emerged as a rising star.
Murray's intense early recordings in small group formats show a musician heavily influenced by John Coltrane, but also with a flair for striking original composition. Working with only a rhythm section was limiting, however, and the saxophonist became interested in pursuing his ideas with in a larger group.
David Murray was all of 25-years old when he recorded "Ming" (named for his second wife) in 1980. It was the first recording to feature his Octet (eight piece group), which was soon to become one of the most acclaimed groups in jazz. Murray's writing and arranging talents were readily apparent on "Ming," a welcome addition to a jazz scene that had de-valued such strengths for a number of years. The Octet also featured such other young talents as Olu Dara, Anthony Davis and Henry Threadgill, soon to become major figures on their own.
Murray's greatest strength, though, is as a tenor saxophonist. Arguably the greatest voice on the instrument since John Coltrane's death in 1967, "Ming" was the first recording to fully display both the fierce and tender side of Murray's playing. This recording is the first full realization of Murray's talents and ambitions and twenty years later, its lost none of its power. His compositions also stand up well, exhibiting the influence of Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus at times, but never in an imitative manner.
Sadly, David Murray has never gotten the acclaim in America that he deserves. The intelligent and progressive music he offered was swept aside in favor of the reactionary school led by Wynton Marsalis and others who, while talented and well-schooled, were less adventurous in their music. Murray remains vital and active as of this writing, living in France and revisiting his homeland only once or twice a year. Luckily, he has always been appreciated in both Europe and Asia, and he still records frequently. "Ming" is both challenging and beautiful, and is the perfect place to start for anyone curious about David Murray.
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