David Murray (born February 19, 1955) is an American jazz musician who plays tenor saxophone and bass clarinet mainly. He has recorded prolifically for many record labels since the mid-1970s.[1]

Contents Edit


  • 1 Biography
  • 2 Awards
  • 3 Discography
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links

Biography[edit] Edit

Murray was born in Oakland, California, USA. He was initially influenced by free jazz musicians such as Albert Ayler and Archie Shepp. He gradually evolved a more diverse style 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 mainstream players Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster and Paul Gonsalves into his mature style.[2] Despite this, he recorded a tribute to Coltrane, Octet Plays Trane, in 1999. He played a set with the Grateful Dead at a show on September 22, 1993, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. His 1996 tribute to the Grateful Dead, Dark Star, was also critically well received.[3]

Murray was a founding member of the World Saxophone Quartet with Oliver Lake, Julius Hemphill and Hamiet Bluiett.[4] 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. David Murray's use of the circular breathing technique has enabled him to play astonishingly long phrases.[5]

He is currently living in Sines, Portugal, and participates yearly in its FMM Music festival.

Awards[edit] Edit

  • In 1980 David Murray was named Village Voice Musician of the Decade.
  • Murray was honoured with the Bird Award[6] in 1986.
  • He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1989.[7]
  • 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.[8]
  • In 1991 he was honoured with the Danish Jazzpar Prize.[9]
  • Newsday named him Musician of the Year in 1993.[10]

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