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David Murray Latin Big Band: Now Is Another Time

David Murray has made more than 90 recording dates as a leader, and the rough and tumble tenor man with the big chops shows no sign of slowing down. His latest, Now Is Another Time (Justin Time) features his Latin Big Band, along with long-time associates Hugh Ragin (trumpet), Craig Harris (trombone) and Hamiet Bluiett (baritone saxophone) sitting in. Highlights include the churning “Blue Muse” with Murray’s bass clarinet honks and the scary-beautiful, percussion-fueled “Break Out.” But the Cuban horn players occasionally sound tentative when playing too far outside the changes. And Murray, unlike most Latin saxophonists, is not what you would consider an in-clave type of player. He often plays on top of the rhythm rather than getting inside. Still, there is much excitement here, notably Changuito’s timbal solo and Tony Perez’s percussive piano on “Aerol’s Change,” saxophonist Roman Feliu O’Reilly’s scorching alto work on “Blue Muse” and Murray’s climb into the upper register on “Crystal.” But the most interesting piece on this CD is the 20-minute “Sad Kind of Love,” which starts as a lush bolero with lovely ensemble textures before giving way to some serious percolation from the rhythm section. Murray, Bluiett and Harris generate lots of aggressive energy, which clearly inspires trumpeter Alexander Brown Cabrera, pianist Miguel Angel de Armas and drummer Giraldo Piloto to shake it up while getting down. Murray ends the piece and the record wailing on top of the drums. It’s a shame there’s no DVD of this-I’d love to see the interaction and the expressions on their faces.

Originally Published