September 20, 2008 – 4:51 am

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Edinburgh Jazz Festival 2008 [no label, 1CD]

Live at The Hub, Edinburgh Jazz Festival, Scotland, July 29, 2008. Very good BBC FM broadcast.

It could be any of these reasons or it could be all of them - fed up with the lies the Bush administration has been telling; unhappy over the way the US economy is self-destructing; the destructive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; the decreasing quality of life in the US… whatever it is, a change is needed. With the US presidential election on November 4, 2008, David Murray dedicated his opening track at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival to “the next President of the United States” Barack Obama. This was followed by the track for Banished, a Marco Williams documentary on racism. To underline Murray’s thinking behind the selection of the songs, the full title of the 2007 documentary was Banished: How Whites Drove Blacks Out Of Town In America.

Politics aside, Murray also used the concert to show his appreciation for the jazz greats that came before him - John Coltrane, Johnny Griffin and pianist Thelonious Monk. Before playing Murray’s Steps, a tribute to Coltrane’s Giant Steps, Murray said he came up with his version because the Coltrane classic “was so hard.”

Saxophonist David Murray has been called the most forceful improviser on his instrument of his generation but the Edinburgh gig was not a one-man show - it was a great team effort - and the audience was certainly in for a treat.

As the UK Herald reported: “(Murray’s) high register playing was particularly striking, with notes tumbling forth as if the instrument’s keys might burn his fingers. Yet there was no sacrifice in tonal quality and when he switched to bass clarinet he produced, again, a beautiful series of sounds from lush to biting while injecting in turn humour and weightier musical reflections on the state of the world.

“Much of this was played over dance metres courtesy of a terrific rhythm section in which pianist Lafayette Gilchrist excelled despite a piano whose tuning was showing some signs of festival stress. His ruminations in the style of Monk were particularly impressive and it was great, too, to hear drummer Hamid Drake, a giant of the improvising scene, playing a more conventional role with huge imagination, conviction and real percussive flair alongside Jaribu Shahid’s sure and ample toned double-bass playing.”

Thanks to leex100 for sharing the show on the internet.

These tracks are no longer available for sharing. Track 01. Kiama* For Obama (David Murray)
Track 02. Banished (David Murray)
Track 03. Murray’s Steps (David Murray)
Track 04. Dreams (AKA Pierce City) (David Murray)

*Kiama is a Kenyan word for council of elders. Barak Obama is half-Kenyan.

David Murray – tenor saxophone
Lafayette Gilchrist – piano
Jaribu Shahid – bass
Hamid Drake – drums

In June, David Murray’s Black Saint Quartet released Live In Berlin. Click on the link to order the album.


  2. Since I saw David Murray first time,it was in 1977 when he played together with Don Pullen (RIP) I love his music.In the first years he played Free Jazz.Powerful and expresiv.The great “Flowers for Albert” recording.Now there are around 130 CDs from and with David Murray.His wild yeaars are over but inside his music is so much feeling.I think he´s the best saxophone player today.

    By Joe "The Catman" on Sep 24, 2008

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