David McMurray's breakout release I Know About Love is the type of release that can drive both critics and record executives nuts but for a myriad of good reasons. Why?
I Know About Love sidesteps the specific limitations of label induced genre. Is it smooth, contemporary, urban and the answer is yes! McMurray's release embraces everything good about contemporary jazz and offers up a little something for everyone. A release of a perfect musical balance may be due in part to McMurray's impressive resume. McMurray has recorded with The Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt and Bootsy Collins to name but a few and has drawn from this myriad of musical influences to then infuse his own flavor into a contemporary sound that is distinctly his. Who does Dave McMurray sound like? Dave McMurray.
McMurray is one of the few legitimate triple threats in any of the jazz sub genres. A first call instrumentalist, producer, and composer that is so well respected that guest artists featured on I Know About Love include Bob James, Marcus Miller and George Duke. "First Night In Africa" features one of the baddest bass players on the planet in Marcus Miller. A spatial groove, dark and rich with a distinct lyrical sense of direction. McMurray has a nice edge to his sound without sounding like something that comes pre-fabricated out of a record labels board room. Open improvisation with the infusion of the trademark Miller sound without over powering the tunes contemporary flow. "Waba Doo Bop" is a deceptively subtle funk, McMurray shines letting his own flavor take center stage. Having spent the last four years as featured soloist with Kid Rock has sharpened McMurray's skills and adds to the more open sound that is so welcome in contemporary jazz today no matter what sub genre you refer to. Too much compression in post production will literally sterilize a recording and jazz should never be sanitized for your protection. "Radio Days" featuring the great Bob James is a nice mix of old school and new cool and is simply another layer of texture to a release that is far more than a collection of the stereotypical pretty tunes one normally associates with an artist that gets remotely close to the smoother side of jazz. A favorite confirming McMurray can really blow is "Inherit The Wind" with vocals by the great Sweat Pea Ackinson. Edgy, soulful and raw finds Ackinson and McMurray as a perfect combination as they literally do their own riff on each others talent.
The most common criticism seen on anything written about contemporary releases would have to be having too many vocals on what by nature should be a more instrumental release. This is listener feedback and just this critics opinion. There are vocals here but they work incredibly well for the most part. The only real criticism of this release might be that the vocals could be dialed back just a touch and specifically some of the vocal embellishments which include some extremely brief spoken word moments that while done for effect are really not needed simply because McMurray's instrumental work is that good. The toughest thing about being a recording artist or doing anything creative is that not everyone is gonna dig the end result but compared to what is being passed off as smooth urban jazz today then McMurray is way ahead of the pack!
I look at Independent artists a little closer then other artists and hold them to perhaps a higher standard much like I am as an Independent writer. McMurray is the real deal. A nice open, warm and at times raw sound to his playing allows his unique voice to grab the listener. Most tenor players can work their entire career searching for the sound McMurray has right now and not even get remotely close. Dave McMurray's I Know About Love is an incredibly impressive release. A rich sonic color pallet coupled with infectious grooves that are not overly programmed for the rhythmically challenged. McMurray can blow! The Constitution promises us life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and if it included a major label deal then it should go to Dave McMurray. A righteous release if ever there was one! McMurray even gives his own dog "Snoop Diggity Dawg" vocal credits on "I Luv You Like Jazz" now how cool is that my friends?
Tracks: Time #4; I Luv You Like Jazz; First Night In Africa (ft. Marcus Miller); Precious Memories; Im Coming Up (ft. George Duke); Love Calls (ft. KEM); Waba Doo Bop; One Night In Paris (ft. TIYI Adjovi); I Know About Love (ft. Herschel Boone); Radio Days (ft. Bob James); Inherit The Wind ( ft. Sweet Pea Atkinson); Beautiful You (ft. Herschel Boone); Naked (ft. Al Turner); Break It Down (ft. Jessica Wagner); Ma's Song (ft. Luis Resto); I Luv You Like Jazz/Rollin (ft. Paradime).
Personnel: Dave McMurray: saxophones, flutes, keyboards, programming; Al Turner: bass; Ron Otis: drums; Luis Resto: acoustic piano; Marlon Curry: percussion; Snoop Diggity Dawg on vocal intro I Luv You Like Jazz; Marcus Miller: basses; Wayne Gerard: guitars; Adell Shavers: guitars; Larry Fratangelo: percussion; KEM: vocals; Brian O'Neal: keyboards; Quentin Baxter: guitars; TIYI Adjovi: vocals; Darrell Smith: bass; Herschell Boone: vocals; Bob James: fender rhodes, acoustic piano; Sweet Pea Atkinson: vocals; Michael Harrington: acoustic bass; Daryl Hall: bass; Jessica Wagner-Cowan: vocals; Paradime: rap.
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