David Murray Infinity Quartet

Be My Monster Love


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His new quartet's name may acknowledge the Studio Infinity loft of the 1970s New York scene from which he sprang, but the music the group plays, like all of extraordinarily prolific saxophonist David Murray's many projects, is about carrying the spirit of black music's great creators forward. Only three of the eight tracks are actually quartet performances, with one, the opening French Kiss For Valerie, immediately establishing the overall tone of energetic affirmation. The others, Stressology and Sorrow Song, respectively reinvigorate Charlie Parker's and the hard swinging quartet traditions, and The Graduate, with Murray's teacher Bobby Bradford adding characterful cornet, suggests Thelonious Monk working in the 21st century. Murray's air-splitting exuberance is complemented by inventive piano playing from Marc Cary. But it's the guest vocals, from Macy Gray and Gregory Porter, that might attract new listeners, with Porter calling to mind Nina Simone, Gil Scott Heron and Leon Thomas at their most soulfully eloquent.

Rob Adams