David Murray, A Sanctuary Within

Bill Milkowski

By Bill Milkowski

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Some of that good ol’ Nouveau Gutbucket Swing.

Recorded in Milan, Italy, with Tony Overwater on bass, Kahil El 'Zabar on percussion and the pioneering free drummer Sunny Murray manning the traps, this freewheeling set is a brilliant example of modern avant garde — although tenor saxophonist David Murray disdains that label. "That's like a four-letter word to me," he says. "That word means financial doom to me, especially in the recording industry." Murray prefers the term "Nouveau Gutbucket Swing," but whatever you call it, this music is invigorating, free-flowing, defiantly searching and undeniably hip. From raucous opener "Short and Sweet" to the somber "Ballad for the Blackman" to the jubilant "Song for New South Africa," from the lilting mid-tempo swinger "Waltz to Heaven" (performed on bass clarinet) to his explosive duet with Sunny Murray on the title track, this is quintessential David Murray, a true tower of power in the tradition of Coltrane, Ayler, Shepp and other elders from the New Thing school.