December 2001

Dave McMurray
Soul Searching
Hip Bop

One of the great sax veterans in the mold of Cannonball Adderly, Dave McMurray can still swing hard. He also swings with the times on Soul Searching (Hip Bop HIBD 8025: 67:35), augmenting his classic sound with modern urban effects. The best moments here center on McMurray's commanding sound: he squeals, spirals and struts on soprano through "Cruisin' to the P.M.," which also features the great Mark Isham on trumpet, and uses long lines and heady fills on tenor to find the soul of the city "On Detroit Time." However, when the production calls for effects-laden vocals ("I Go Wild") or overbearing electronics ("Ghetto Flute Song") things can get semifrustrating. The ironic vocal sample on "Just the Music" is revealing, repeating ad nauseum, "I just wanna hear the music." Well, so do we, preferring the deep tenor-driven, sultry blues dance "Cleo's Mood" or the amazing sax choir "Sonny" to show us the real Dave McMurray.

Originally published in December 2001
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