David Murray (jazz musician)

David Murray (born February 19, 1955 in Oakland, California, United States) is a notable jazz musician. Murray plays mainly tenor saxophone and sometimes bass clarinet. He has recorded prolifically on a variety of labels since the mid-1970s. One critic dubbed Murray the Joyce Carol Oates of jazz, comparing Murray's prolific and consistently highly-regarded work to the noted novelist's.

David Murray's use of the circular breathing technique has enabled him to play astonishingly long phrases. Murray was initially heavily influenced by free jazz musicians such as Archie Shepp and Albert Ayler. He gradually evolved a more mainstream approach in his playing and compositions. Murray set himself apart from most tenor players of his generation by not taking John Coltrane as his model, choosing instead to incorporate elements of Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, and Paul Gonsalves into his mature style. Despite this, he recorded a tribute to Coltrane, Octet Plays Trane, in 1999. His 1996 tribute to the Grateful Dead , Dark Star, was also critically well received.

Murray was a founding member of the World Saxophone Quartet with Oliver Lake, Julius Hemphill and Hamiet Bluiett. He has recorded or performed with musicians such as Henry Threadgill, James Blood Ulmer, Olu Dara, Tani Tabbal, Butch Morris, Donal Fox, McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones, Ed Blackwell, Johnny Dyani, and Steve McCall.


  • In 1980 David Murray was named Village Voice Musician of the Decade
  • Murray was honoured with the Bird Award in 1986.
  • Awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1989
  • David Murray and his band earned a Grammy Award in 1989 in the Best Jazz Instrumental Group Performance category for Blues for Coltrane: A Tribute to John Coltrane
  • 1991 honoured with the Danish Jazzpar Prize
  • The Newsday named him Musician of the Year in 1993


His 2000s recordings on Justin Time Records remain in-print, as of July 2007. Dates are of recording, not release.


  • Solo Live (Cecma, 1980)


  • The Healers (Black Saint, 9/26/87) with Randy Weston
  • Real Deal (DIW, 11/3/91) with Milford Graves
  • Valencia (Sound Hills, 1997 April 28) with Aki Takase
  • We Is: Live at the Bop Shop (Delmark, 3/29/2000) with Kahil El'Zabar



  • Flowers for Albert: The Complete Concert (India Navigation, 1976)
  • Live at the Lower Manhattan Ocean Club (India Navigation, 1978)
  • Let the Music Take You (Marge, 1978)
  • Morning Song (Black Saint, 1983)
  • I Want to Talk About You (Black Saint, 1986).
  • Recording N.Y.C. 1986 (DIW, 1986)
  • Lovers (DIW, 1988)
  • Deep River (DIW, 1988)
  • Spirituals (DIW, 1988)
  • Ballads (DIW, 1988)
  • Tenors (DIW, 1988)
  • Ming's Samba (Portrait/CBS, 1988)
  • Lucky Four (Tutu, 1988)
  • Special Quartet (DIW/Columbia, 1990)
  • Shakill's Warrior (DIW/Columbia, 1991)
  • Ballads for Bass Clarinet (DIW, 1991)
  • A Sanctuary Within (Black Saint, 1991)
  • Body and Soul (Black Saint, 1993)
  • Saxmen (Red Baron/Sony, 1993)
  • For Aunt Louise (DIW, 1993)
  • Love and Sorrow (DIW, 1993)
  • Shakill's II (DIW, 1993)
  • Long Goodbye: A Tribute to Don Pullen (DIW, 1996)
  • Sacred Ground (Justin Time, 2007)


  • Quintet at the Bim Huis (Circle, 1977)
  • Children (Black Saint, 1984)
  • Remembrances (DIW, 1990)
  • David Murray/James Newton Quintet (DIW, 1991)
  • MX (Red Baron/Sony, 1992)
  • Quintet with Ray Anderson/Anthony Davis (DIW, 1994)


Big Band


  • Interboogieology (Black Saint, 1978)
  • Black and Black (DIW, 1991)
  • Fast Life (DIW/Columbia, 1991)
  • Death of a Sideman (DIW, 1991)
  • Windward Passages (Black Saint, 1993)
  • The Tip (DIW, 1994)
  • Jug-a-Lug (DIW, 1994)
  • Fo Deuk Revue (Justin Time, 1996)
  • Creole (Justin Time, 1997)
  • Speaking in Tongues (Justin Time, 1997)

See also


External links

See also

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