David Murray Latin Big Band
(Justin Time – 2003)
by Paula Edelstein
To understand the origin of jazz, you must go back to its beginning. To understand David Murray, you must go back to his beginnings. Known for his brash range, breathtaking chops and brawling sound: a mix of avant-garde taunts, swingin’ blues and mainstream lyricism, David Murray, a Berkeley native, is one of the most prolific artists in the history of jazz. With over 100 albums and countless collaborative projects to his name, from the World Saxophone Quartet to the Dark Star Grateful Dead project in 1997, Murray presides at the point where tradition meets the future. He goes one step further with the 50-piece David Murray Latin Big Band and their offering titled Now is Another Time.
The Cuban-inspired compositions are performed by a dazzling array of young Cuban musicians. However, the big band, is built around three of Murray’s long-time associates: trombonist Craig Harris, trumpeter Hugh Ragin and Hamiet Bluiett on baritone sax. All seven originals feature arrangements by Manolit Simonet, Jose Luis Cortez and timbales master Changuito. From the scalding, wicked horn lines of “Crystal” to the fiery timbales solo of Changuito, David Murray is accompanied to the hilt and as a leader plays entirely in a world of his own devising… offering the kind of pleasure that might be best appreciated after one or two listens.
Overall, it’s Murray’s head-turning tenor sax improvisations and Bluiett’s unfailing baritone sax riffs that make this program such a standout. Now is Another Time cannot be compared to Murray’s previous efforts, however, it does rise to the standard set by several of the American masters that have attempted to meet the standards set by the great Latin Jazz big band leaders.