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Album Review

The concept of "inside/outside" is not limited to avant-garde and experimental jazz; in can also be found in everything from screamo (also known as post-hardcore or melodic hardcore) to melodic death metal and symphonic black metal. But avant-garde jazz musicians, more than anyone, have perfected that integration of the sane and the insane — that ability to combine the extreme with the not-so-extreme and make it all come together in a logical, coherent fashion. Recorded in December 2002, Waltz Again is a rewarding example of David Murray's ability to skillfully pull together the inside and the outside. This post-bop/avant-garde date (which finds the veteran tenor man joined by a rhythm section as well as ten string players) is many different things. There are moments of abstraction — moments when Murray's playing is dissonant, cerebral, difficult, and angular. But there are other times when Murray (who was 47 when Waltz Again was recorded) is relatively accessible and quite melodic; Waltz Again sometimes recalls the lyrical side of John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, and there are hints of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn at times. Waltz Again has its share of avant-garde appeal, but some parts of this 63-minute CD are peaceful, tranquil, and downright comforting — even lush on occasion. And lush is certainly doable when you have ten string players on hand. There are many worthwhile albums in Murray's sizable catalog, and Waltz Again is likely to go down in history as one of his strongest recordings of the 2000s.

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Waltz Again, David Murray 4tet & Strings
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