David Murray and Randy Weston: The Healers
David Murray and Randy Weston
The Healers (Black Saint 120-118-2)
Recorded: New York, September 26, 1987
Rating: 94/100 (learn more)
David Murray is arguably jazz's greatest bass clarinetist after Eric Dolphy. Though he can certainly swing like a demon, Murray's bass clarinet playing is perhaps most affecting when he tackles free-er material. His duo partner Randy Weston's composition "The Healers" fits the bill. The 14-minute track features Murray and Weston conversing in an open setting faintly defined by modal harmony and rubato rhythm. The improvised intro leads into a simple theme supported by an ebbing-and-flowing bass ostinato in the pianist's left hand. A lyrical bridge appears briefly then fades into a restatement of the first theme, after which the men play over the tune's loose structure. As an accompanist, Weston excels at developing in small increments; he's an understated, very tasteful player well-suited to support his more gregarious partner. Murray's tone strikes a balance between sweet and acrid; matched with his wide vibrato (which seems smoother on bass clarinet than on his other instrument, tenor sax), it's uniquely expressive. The men are a well-matched pair; this is very attractive music.
Reviewer: Chris Kelsey