- Phil Freeman
Episode 18 of the Burning Ambulance podcast features an interview with saxophonist David Murray.
David Murray arrived in New York in the mid-1970s as a student from Pomona College in California, and quickly started playing gigs in the lofts that were hosting most of the really forward-looking music at that time. He can be heard on the Wildflowers compilation, which documented a run of performances at Sam Rivers’ RivBea studio in 1976, and he made his debut album, Flowers For Albert, around the same time, with Olu Dara on trumpet, Fred Hopkins on bass, and Philip Wilson on drums. And since then, he’s made somewhere in the neighborhood of three hundred records, and probably more. What makes Murray important, though, is not just his productivity, but his unique voice – he combines old and new school styles in a really striking way, attacking with the whole horn, from the bottom to the top of its range and creating a sound that’s part Ben Webster, part Archie Shepp, and part Albert Ayler, but ultimately unlike anyone else out there. And he’s different from a lot of tenor players in that he doesn’t also play soprano. He plays tenor and bass clarinet, and that’s pretty much it.
In this interview, I’m talking to him about a whole bunch of things. He’s got a new album called Blues For Memo, which we discuss a little bit, and we talk about his political views and how they manifest in his art, about why he’s made as many records as he has, about his creative relationship with Dave Burrell, who I interviewed in episode 15, we talk about his voice on the tenor saxophone, why he likes the octet format, and a lot of other subjects as well. I think it’s a really interesting interview, one I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and I hope you’ll enjoy it.