The much-recorded David Murray, tenor sax, bass clarinet, exhibited a passionate
style of playing when he burst onto the New York City scene in the mid '70s,
mixing the avant-garde fervor of Albert Ayler with some of the tonal qualities
of Paul Gonsalves. His music has mellowed somewhat over the years.
Born in Berkeley, Calif., on Feb.19, 1955, Murray learned elementary harmony from his mother, a pianist in the Missionary Church of God and Christ. He began playing tenor at age 9, then found an interest in rhythm 'n' blues at age 12 and was leading groups as a teenager. He attended Pomona College in the Los Angeles area for two years, studying with Stanley Crouch. The tenor made his move to New York City in 1975.
Shortly after arriving on the East Coast, Murray began leading groups, making recordings and touring Europe. Later in the decade he worked with James "Blood" Ulmer's Music Revelation Ensemble, Jack DeJohnette's Special Edition and was a founding member of the World Saxophone Quartet.
Since the early '80s he has led his own quartets, octets and big bands and has recorded for a variety of labels, mostly European and Japanese. Murray was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1989 and the Danish Jazzpar prize in 1991. He records today at a frightening pace. Some of his representative recordings are Live At The Lower Manhattan Ocean Club on India Navigation and Ming and Body And Soul, both on Black Saint.