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David Murray Infinity Quartet: Be My Monster Love

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David Murray’s first quartet album in six years comes with trappings: song lyrics by his old Conjure crony Ishmael Reed and the Last Poets’ Abiodun Oyewole, vocals by Gregory Porter and Macy Gray and a guest appearance by cornet great Bobby Bradford. In lieu of liner notes, we get a darkly pitched story by mystery veteran Robert Wilson inspired by the title song. And the album introduces Murray’s Infinity Quartet, including pianist Marc Cary, bassist Jaribu Shahid and drummer Nasheet Waits.

For all the concepts in motion, this is one of Murray’s most relaxed albums in a while. More often than not, he’s in classic tenor mode, pouring out bruisingly melodic lines, as on “French Kiss for Valerie” (named after his wife) or ripping through the changes, as on “Stressology.” It’s great to hear him reunited with Bradford, his onetime mentor and occasional sideman, on “The Graduate,” a bouncing bop workout on which the cornet player leaves his mark with his burnished sound and loose but lucid phrasing.

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