Grammy® Award-winner David Murray is considered by many to be among the greatest and most versatile saxophonists, composers and bandleaders this country has produced. Having risen to prominence in the downtown jazz loft scene in 1970s New York, co-founded the World Saxophone Quartet, and gone on to create a vast and stunningly broad variety of music, Murray moved to Europe in 1996. Over the past few years, however, Murray has made a triumphant homecoming: He signed to the NYC-based Motéma Music, released the celebrated David Murray Cuban Ensemble Plays Nat King Cole En Español, and toured the country, with various bands, to much acclaim. Now he has formed a new quartet of American players, the David Murray Infinity Quartet, whose name harkens back to Murray’s formative days in New York, when he and his Pomona College friend Stanley Crouch operated the Studio Infinity loft. Motéma will release the new band’s soulful debut, Be My Monster Love, on June 11.
Be My Monster Love is Murray’s first quartet album in six years. In addition to Murray on tenor sax, the band consists of fellow Motéma artist Marc Cary on piano, Jaribu Shahid on bass and Nasheet Waits on drums. Bobby Bradford, renowned trumpeter and Murray’s former teacher at Pomona College, joins the quartet for “The Graduate.” The album also features two noteworthy vocalists. Platinum-selling Grammy® Award-winner Macy Gray sings the title track, continuing a relationship that began when Murray and Gray worked together in Questlove’s Afro Picks project, in which Murray was arranger, bandleader and player and Gray was a featured vocalist. The album also prominently features the twice-Grammy® Award-nominated soul/jazz sensation Gregory Porter, also a Motéma artist, who performed live with Murray’s Cuban Ensemble and was part of the most recent iteration of Tongues on Fire, a tribute to the Black Panthers that Murray wrote for the Last Poets.
In Murray’s four-decade career of prolific output, Be My Monster Love is among his most innovative and fully developed works. In addition to introducing a new band and featuring two exceptional singers, the album includes contributions by three distinguished writers. Instead of liner notes, the package includes A Dangerous Kind of Love, a short story by the novelist Robert Wilson, winner of the CWA Gold Dagger Award, Britain’s most prestigious crime fiction honor; the story is inspired by the haunting imagery of the title track, whose lyrics, along with those of two songs sung by Porter, were penned by Ishmael Reed. Wilson says of the leading track: “David Murray’s ‘Be My Monster Love’ is an eclectic mix of old memories, strange dreams, and powerful reflections. The fascinating arrangements and superb instrumental control with Murray’s constantly extending and uplifting sax play left me spellbound and Macy Gray’s smoky, beguiling voice make this an instant classic.” Last Poets member Abiodun Oyewole wrote the lyrics to “About the Children,” sung by Porter.
Having performed with Murray’s Big Band last year, Macy Gray will join him on a North American tour beginning this summer for a series of shows featuring the Infinity Quartet and Big Band. Below is a list of confirmed dates.
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No shows booked at the moment.