David Murray: In the Spirit
In the Spirit
David Murray (tenor sax)
Shakill's Warrior (DIW/Columbia CK 48963)
Composed by Don Pullen.
Recorded: New York, March 1-2, 1991
Rating: 98/100 (learn more)
This session brought together, in David Murray and Don Pullen, two musicians whose styles confidently straddled post-bop and free jazz. The end result was similar to the inside-outside modus operandi of the provocative quartet Pullen co-led for years with tenorman George Adams, except on Shakill's Warrior Pullen plays organ instead of piano. Pullen had played organ in R&B groups in the 1960s and in Harlem nightclubs in the '70s, and was a soulfully proficient master of the instrument.
"In the Spirit" is a wonderful gospel-based Pullen composition given a mesmerizing performance. Murray softly delineates the luminous, prayerful theme, backed by Pullen's mellifluous long tones. Pullen's solo is remarkable in the way it combines reverent emotion with technical panache. Murray takes the prevailing sanctified spirit to even greater heights, utilizing winding, passionate lines and effective variations in dynamics. The melody's reprise is even more tenderly projected than in the initial reading, and Pullen also adds some tweeting, burbling references to the old spiritual "His Eye Is On the Sparrow." This is a woefully unrecognized classic Murray track.
Reviewer: Scott Albin