David Murray Infinity Quartet
Be My Monster Love

Murray is joined on the title track by croaky voiced R&B sensation Macy Gray, “catwoman” to the “wolfman” she addresses in a fun-filled tale of “monster love”. It’s a tune that has also inspired the short story ‘A Dangerous Kind of Love’, by crime novelist Robert Wilson and is included in the place of sleeve notes. Another singer with a big part to play here is Gregory Porter on three songs. Be My Monster Love, Murray’s first quartet album in six years, featuring cult pianist Marc Cary who’s just recently released a superb tribute to Abbey Lincoln for Motéma [reviewed], bassist Jaribu Shahid and the Bandwagon’s drummer Nasheet Waits. Murray, a maverick figure blessed with being able to produce one of the most definitive tenor saxophone sounds on the planet, has a Gonsalves-like style on a song like ‘Stressology’. Yet the innovations of the New Thing and beyond are always a factor added to the strong Ellingtonian dimension deep within Murray’s music. The opening love song to Murray’s wife Valérie is just lovely, and romance is clearly one of the important factors at the album’s core. Later the funky and gospellised ‘Army of the Faithful (Joyful Noise)’ with Gregory Porter stretching out against soulful organ sets up Murray to blow his heart out before the old school sophistication of ‘Sorrow Song’ takes the record into a new fulfilling direction. Murray brings an old friend cornetist Bobby Bradford out to join him on ‘The Graduate’ for some effective testifying but ‘Hope is a Thing with Feathers’ a Murray/Ishmael Reed song about immigration and freedom, with Gregory Porter at his best is the ultimate standout of a very fine socially conscious, involved and appealing album. It’s Murray’s best in many a year. SG
Released on Monday 17 June