CD review: David Murray Infinity Quartet

monsterBe My Monster Love
(Motema 233724)

Saxophonist David Murray has always been something of a monster musician – his rich and fruity tenor inevitably works itself up during his recordings into high squeals and yowls, and his sound is larger than life. His is a cuddly and loveable monster, though, and a hugely generous one.

He continues his collaboration with soul singer Macy Gray (another loveable monster in her own way) on the title track, a lyric by another favourite of Murray’s, Ishmael Reed. Although these lyrics are striking, and Gray’s delivery finds her at her quirky best, the melody strikes initially as rather lacklustre. There is not much tune at all, but a kind of narration against a groove. But it works its way beneath the skin after a while and phrases have been returning to me throughout the past days. And Murray’s blistering solo makes even more sense of it.

There is another important vocal guest on three other tracks – the ever-versatile Gregory Porter. He really is in his element on the gospelly Army Of The Faithful which, with rich organ accompaniment, some deep testifying from Murray and a double-time kick in one section, really does live up to its subtitle: Joyful Noise.

David Murray

David Murray

The Infinity Quartet has Marc Cary on piano and organ,  Jaribu Shahid on bass and Nasheet Waits on drums, and is, like the best of Murray’s bands, an earthy affair, full of sweaty passion and grit.

Sorrow Song sounds a lot happier than its title, with Murray in sweet  mode, while The Graduate has an instrumental guest in cornettist Bobby Bradford.

The title tune is complemented with an apt short story in the CD booklet by crime writer Robert Wilson. A lovely package in all, and a very welcome new album from a musician who has been enriching my life for a good few decades now. Through his tenor Murray speaks with the familiar sound of an old friend and with the wisdom of one we can feel knows us well. It’s the sound of humanity.

David Murray’s Infinity Quartet is playing in Birmingham in the autumn. More details and the chance to book now are here.

In the meantime, enjoy this:

Categories: CD review

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