David Murray (saxophonist)

David Murray ( born February 19, 1955 in Oakland, California ) is a major American tenor saxophonist, bass clarinetist, composer, and bandleader of the jazz.

Life and work

David Murray's mother was a respected gospel pianist. Murray was eight years old when he began playing the alto saxophone and the family band of Murray accompanied church services. At twelve, he played in a rhythm & blues band, at fifteen, he led an organ trio in the then popular cast of organ, saxophone and drums. During this time, Murray moved - inspired by Sonny Rollins - for tenor saxophone.

In 1975, he moved to New York, where he was connected to the loft jazz scene by Stanley Crouch, who wanted to build him as the successor of John Coltrane ( Wildflowers - The New York Loft Jazz Sessions 1976). He played among others with Cecil Taylor and Anthony Braxton. In 1976 he accepted for the independent label India Navigation released his debut album Flowers for Albert on that. Still under the influence of Albert Ayler and its eruptive sound streams is In the same year he founded the World Saxophone Quartet. International, he toured first with Sunny Murray and Johnny Dyani and James Blood Ulmer. In the 1980s, his game is back on song forms and recognizable melodic figures. A key album for his neoclassicism is the 1980 released album Ming, on the Murray presented his first octet, which consisted essentially of musicians with whom he had already played together in California, and with whom he took a great deal of attention. The album Home (1982 ) merges "what the black music has produced on large sounds. Gospel sounds, free jazz, Afro - Caribbean, archaic blues, soul "

Between 1983 and 1987 he was also heard in projects by Kip Hanrahan. In 1993 he played in duet with Branford Marsalis on Fast Life. His New York Quartet and the trio has remained next to the World Saxophone Quartet and many activities in the world-jazz - range for him a mainstay.

Since the mid- 1990s, Murray lives in Paris with his partner. In 1991, the highly doped Danish Jazzpar Prize he was awarded; he played in addition to the New Jungle Orchestra Pierre Dørge one together a plate.

His son Mingus Murray is a guitarist and singer-songwriter.


David Murray mastered the playing techniques of the jazz avant-garde and integrated into its idiosyncratic, very distinctive saxophone and bass clarinet playing elements and techniques for all styles of jazz - vibrato, Subtone out of swing, phrasing of blues, funk, hard bop and freer styles. Particularly striking is the masterful and very controlled use of overtones that go far beyond the "normal" range of tenor saxophone and the bass clarinet. In addition, the integration of the overblown saxophone playing an Albert Ayler, Murray has gradually melodisiert and made ​​tonal voices. During the 1980s his game bound and structured: " The natural looseness with which he achieved polytonality, and his mastery of the free treatment of contrapuntal ideas come from the Gospel communities - the free jazz plays only the role of the reinforcing member. "

Despite initial experiments in the avant-garde area is next to Albert Ayler for Murray Ellington saxophonist Paul Gonsalves, whom he considers very admired and underestimated for, the most important influence, as well as Ben Webster and Lester Young. David Murray distinguished himself as an arranger and composer of pieces for his Octet; his compositions Home -Scope and 3 D Family he has repeatedly recorded.


The Vinyl Factory David Murray is one of the most extensive in modern jazz; the Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD by Richard Cook and Brian Morton lists alone for the period 1975 to 2001 to sixty-three albums, which published the saxophonist as a bandleader; plus numerous albums with the World Saxophone Quartet and recordings as a sideman.

Duo and trio recordings

  • Sweet Lovely ( Black Saint, 1979) with Fred Hopkins, Steve McCall
  • The Hill ( Black Saint, 1986) with Richard Davis, Joe Chambers
  • The Long Goodbye (DIW, 1996)
  • Tea for Two ( Fresh Sound Records) with Georges Arvanitas
  • Real Deal (DIW, 1991) with Milford Graves

Quartet recordings

  • I Want to Talk About You ( Black Saint, 1986) with John Hicks, Ray Drummond, Ralph Peterson
  • Tenors (DIW, 1988) with6 Dave Burrell, Fred Hopkins, Ralph Peterson
  • Ballads (DIW, 1988) Lovers ( DIW, 1988) ditto
  • Ming's Samba (portrait, 1988)
  • Special Quartet (DIW, 1990) with McCoy Tyner, Fred Hopkins, Elvin Jones
  • Ballads for Bass Clarinet (DIW, 1991) with John Hicks, Ray Drummond, Idris Muhammad
  • Fast Life (DIW, 1991) with John Hicks, Ray Drummond, Idris Muhammad, and guest Branford Marsalis
  • Live in Berlin - Black Saint Quartet ( Jazz Workshop 2008) with Lafayette Gilchrist, Jabiru Shahid, Hamid Drake
  • David Murray Quartet Infinity: Be My Monster Love ( Motema, 2013), with Gregory Porter

Octet and big band recordings

  • Ming ( Black Saint, 1980)
  • Home ( Black Saint, 1981)
  • David Murray Big Band Conducted by Lawrence " Butch" Morris (DIW, 1991)
  • The Jazzpar Prize ( Enja, 1992) with Pierre Dørge, Harry Beckett, Horace Parlan
  • South of the Border (DIW, 1992) with John Purcell, Don Byron
  • Now Is Another Time ( JustoinTime, 2002) with Hugh Ragin, Hamiet Bluiett & Latin Ensemble

Recordings as a sideman

  • D. D. Jackson: Paired Down ( Justin Time, 1997)
  • Jack DeJohnette: Special Edition (ECM, 1979)
  • Kahil El'Zabar: One World Family ( CIMP, 2000)
  • John Hicks: Sketches of Tokyo (DIW, 1985)
  • DD Jackson Paired Down, Vol 1 & 2 ( Justin Time, 1996/97 )
  • Jon Jang: Two Flowers on a Stem ( Soul Note, 1995)


  • David Murray - I am a Jazzman. Documentation, France, 2008, 54 min, directed by Jacques Goldstein, production: Arte France, German Original Air Date: August 31, 2009 Summary of arte