Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Murray, Maker

We are back again with another great birthday thing and a good rejoinder to the last post about Henry Threadgill.
Today's superstar is kind of an analog to what Thread does, except that in our birthday boy's case he has played on more albums, and he's 11 years younger.
Which is really saying something, as HT has played on or led over 100 sessions.
It's estimated that since coming on the scene in the mid 1970s, today's honoree has been a part of an estimated 200 recording sessions.
This would include, of course, his seminal platters with groups like the Music Revelation Ensemble and the World Saxophone Quartet, which he co-founded.
A relentlessly searching explorer who brought the smoother-edged tones of Ben Webster and Coleman Hawkins into the previously Coltrane-ified Free Jazz thing, he's orbited every outer edge of the music since and shows no signs of letting up.
In fact, I was just reading about his latest tour of Europe... he's over in Italy playing dates right now.
If we are referencing the last 50+ years of improvised music, there is simply no conceivable way we can leave out the gargantuan contributions of sax colossus David Murray, turning 64 today.
So let's celebrate, shall we? Today's concert is one of those cookers where you wish every bootleg could feature this sort of sound quality and this standard of completeness, and still retain the intensity we come for.
He's made several records with these Guadeloupean cats, but there aren't too many archival artifacts of their adventures, save a couple of videos.
Thankfully, there's this: a complete concert from the 2003 Willisau Jazz Festival in Switzerland, captured I assume by a frisky soundman/woman getting happy with a reel-to-reel deck behind the 'board.
There isn't much I can say about this 100 minutes of mayhem, other than the fact that the percussion is stomping, the playing -- from everyone -- is unbelievable, and that whoever the guitar player is is clean up outta his mind on this.
David Murray & The Gwo-Ka Masters of Guadeloupe
Jazz Festival Willisau 
Willisau, Switzerland

01 Gété
02 David Murray announcement
03 Monte
04 David Murray announcement
05 Go to Jazz

01 David Murray announcement
02 Djola Feeling
03 Bulagel
04 Gwotet/La Ply La

Total time: 1:39:41

David Murray - tenor & soprano saxophones, bass clarinet
Rasul Siddik - trumpet
Hervé Sambe - guitar
Doumbé - bass
Hamid Drake - drums & percussion
Klod Kiauvé - percussion & vocals
Philippe Makaïa - percussion & vocals

2nd gen DAT of master soundboard reels
This might have been captured by a DAT at the original stage -- who was using reel decks in 2003? -- but the lineage insisted that the reel was the case so I left it in the info file.
It doesn't matter whether it was recorded with two tin cans and a piece of twine, because what's on the tape burns with 1000 fires.
We'll take a two-day break from the BHM extravaganza for two consecutive posts -- about two true visionary iconoclasts -- at week's end, before we finish out February with more African-descended awesomeness.
Today, though, we gotta give it up for David Murray, born this day in 1955 and still attempting -- succeeding, too -- in telling the whole story of humanity through any number of reed instruments.--J.