David Murray Big Band
featuring Macy Gray
Friday, Jan 11, 2013 8:00 PM EST
Iridium, New York, NY
DAVID MURRAY BIG BAND Featuring MACY GRAY
David Murray / Sax Lead & Direction
Macy Gray / Vocal
Few musicians in jazz history have proven more vigorously productive and resourceful than David Murray. During the past 35 years, from the moment he first visited New York as a 20-year-old student, playing in a walkup loft, in 1975, David has careened forward in a cool, collected, rocket-fueled streak.
He has released over 150 albums under his own name. Yet more impressive than the numbers is the constancy of two abiding achievements: as a tenor saxophonist, he has perfected an instantly recognizable approach to improvisation that even in its freest flights acknowledges the gravity of a tradition he honors more than most; and he has altered the context for his improvisations as an infinite mosaic of musical challenges and explorations. With this new album (out on Motema – October 2011), we hear the fruit of one of David Murray’s most improbable and effective projects: an interpretation of two albums that Nat King Cole recorded in Spanish in 1958 and 1962, performing melodies from Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Rio de Janeiro, and Buenos Aires.
“These were songs that I would’ve probably written in another life,” says Macy Gray in her trademark rasp. She’s been asked to identify the common denominator linking the wildly varied songs on Covered, her stunning new collection of cover songs. “And,” she continues, “they’re almost all these kind of dark love songs, which is the mood I’m in right now – to sing these I-wanna- slit-my-wrists-but-I-love-you songs. They already said what I want to say, perfectly.”
To the casual music fan, Macy Gray tackling a covers album might seem wholly out of left field – especially since the material she chose to reinterpret is largely drawn from indie rock tunes made over the last decade or so. (Exceptions are Eurythmics’ “Here Comes the Rain Again,” from 1984, and Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters,” from 1992.) But Covered is not your typical covers album. It deftly redefines what such an undertaking is and can be, which makes it very much a Macy Gray project.
A gifted songwriter and dazzlingly singular singer, the mom of three teenagers has been overturning fan expectation and industry formula since kicking off her music career with her debut 1999 CD, On How Life Is. That musical calling card spawned the classic single “I Try,” and both the CD and single were massive global hits. They kicked off a career ride that includes two Grammys, two MTV awards, over 15 million units sold, and a thriving acting career…