1 December 2008

Wilber Morris / David Murray / Dennis Charles: Wilber Force

Wilber Morris / David Murray / Dennis Charles: Wilber Force     
DIW 809

Wilber Morris (b)
David Murray (ts 1-4 6,bcl 5)
Dennis Charles (d)

1. Randy (Wilver Morris) 12:55
2. P.C.O.P. #1 (Wilver Morris) 10:00
3. Miss Mack (Wilver Morris) 9:05
4. West Indian Folk Song (Dennis Charles) 8:40
5. Afro-Amer. Ind (Wilver Morris) 10:20
6. P.C.O.P. #2 (Wilver Morris) 11:35  

Recorded live at February 6, 1983 at Kwame, NYC

This seems to be the second recording for Wilber Morris’ sometime bass-drums-sax trio. This one features the young (but long-time Morris associate) David Murray, and recent partner in rhythm (but fixture of the New York scene) Dennis Charles. Morris and Murray were both part of the tide of West Coast musicians setting up in New York in the mid 1970s to play in the loft scene, while Charles had been the powerhouse behind some of the key experimental musicians of New York’s avant guard since the early 1950s.

I bought this as part of my obsessive David Murray collecting, but it is now far from a completists addition. The bassist is clearly the leader here, composing all the themes with short names ( West Indian Folk Song is Charles’), and giving all the numbers their drive and shape. Murray is particularly effective in a trio, and the Morris themes seem to push him to some very different performances. Although I tend to think Murray can do no wrong, even I’d have to admit that he hardly ever subsumes himself into the setting he finds himself. In ‘Afro-Amer.Ind’, though, features his plaintive bass clarinet weaving through Morris’ bass figures and Charles’ choppy cymbal work. A bass and vocal chant leads to a long Murray solo, subsides into a bass solo with a intermittent gentle tap and brushed backing from Charles, before Murray and Charles burst back in stretch to the end. Meditative is probably the adjective. By contrast Charles’ jolly theme suits Murray well, and brings out a strong tight drums and bass performance.

‘Miss Mack’ is more subdued sax and Charles’ lovely drum textures. This one repays repeated listening. It’s remarkable how much is going on amongst the three musicians. The longest track, ‘Randy’, has one of those quirky rhythm-melody themes, and some constant changes of pace driven by bass and drum with Murray holding on for dear life! He does get to squeal a little here, though. there are two ‘PCOP’s, though I’m not clear what they are. A lovely theme set out by sax and bass with cracking physical playing from Charles. There’s a lot of unfocused meandering, but journey’s don’t have to be purposeful if there’s lots to hear on the way, and here the textures are just wonderful. This really is music for the moment that allows you to forget where you’ve come from, and care little about where your heading.

As far as I am aware this was the first time Murray was on a DIW recording, and a decade later this was going to be his main channel for releases. There’s a pattern in Murray’s history where he records as a sideman for a project and seems to establish a relationship that blossoms into a recording contract later on. This was also a bit of a return to small group recordings after septet and octet experiments (usually featuring Morris and his younger brother, Butch) interspersed with quartet recordings.

Although this had a CD release, it wasn't widely available outside Japan, and it doesn't seem to be currently available. Along with Collective Improvisations (featuring Denis Charles and saxophonist Charles Tyler for Bleu Regard in 1981) this is an enjoyable record in its own terms, and a key point in Murray’s career that isn’t that well known.


Wallofsound said...

There's 320 kbps mp3s and flacs for those who don't want so much compression in their lives. You'll need all the mp3 files, or all the flac files to extract your chosen audio format.



Newk said...

I just sold the gist of my record collection last night, so it was a bit of solace to wake up this morning and see this posting. I owned this album briefly years ago, and I had similar impressions concerning Murray's playing. Those pieces are almost more suited to somebody like Threadgill or even Braxton, who excels at leaps, twists, and tight, rapid attacks.

matt w said...

Thanks for posting this (and thanks to everyone for their postings).

According to a review of a Kevin Norton album that includes the song, PCOP is for Paul Chambers and Oscar Pettiford. http://www.ndorward.com/music/norton_dreamcatcher.htm

sotise said...

thanks man, i dont have this either looking forward to it ,and thanks for the splendidly informative notes.

Boromir said...

Thanks for another splendid DM recording WOS.

Igor said...

Thank you for the excellent disc.

David Murray is a true giant of modern jazz with fantastc discography.

It's unbelievable that some organizers of the festival don't recognize his importance. I was in Ljubljana Jazz Festival in 2006. only to hear David Murray & The Gwo-Ka Masters, but the main stars of the evening, according to the organizer, were Medeski, Martin & Wood. Sad truth is that the market sets the value.

kinabalu said...

Since it was mentioned in the main post, I thought I might as well resurrect the "Collective Improvisations" which has Charles Tyler on alto and baritone in front of the other two chaps. And that has to be a good thing.


Dunno where I got this one, but I have a feeling it might have been from the old C#9 blog.

Anonymous said...

Awesome, looks really promising. Many thanks.

Wallofsound said...

Glad you all like this one. It's getting a surprising level of interest at rapidshare.

Thanks kinabalu for making it possible for everyone to get the set of two Wilber Morris records.