Thursday, October 27, 2011


One of David Murray's most ambitious projects ever - David Murray Cuban Ensemble Plays Nat King Cole En Español, where he revists Latin classics through the filter of two Cole records, Cole Español and More Cole Español. These were not the strongest efforts from Nat King Cole, who had learned Spanish phonetically. Latin audiences heard his delivery as something comedic, but they gave Cole a break. He was singing their songs. The idea to celebrate Nat King Cole started in Cuba. Saxophonist David Murray was recording one of three albums he would make at the legendary Studio Egrem when he spotted a photo of Cole recording at Egrem with Cuban maestro Armando Romeu in pre-revolutionary Havana. Murray's project is a trans-cultural outing that brings together his jazz roots with Cuban musicians, additional strings, and an occasional vocalist – all recorded in studios from Argentina, to Portugal, to France!

There's still a nicely unified feel to the whole record, though – and there should be, given how long Murray has kept this musical vision in his heart – and honestly, the whole thing is one of the most impressive things he's recorded in years – not only a great reminder that he's got deep respect for many jazz traditions, but also that he can inflect his horn with rich flavors with effortless ease. Titles include "Quizas Quizas Quizas", "Black Nat", "Piel Canela", "Cachito", "Aqui Se Habla En Amor", and "El Bodeguero". The U.S. version features the bonus cut "El Chocolo. David Murray Cuban Ensemble Plays Nat King Cole En Español, features a stellar cast of Cuban players, including tango vocalist Melingo plus the strings of the The Sinfonieta of Sines, as well as featuring Omara Portuondo . This early cross-cultural repertoire is a natural for the versatile and prolific jazz great David Murray, whose previous projects include collaborations with Gwo-Ka percussion masters from Guadeloupe (Gwotet), Senegalese artists (Fo Deuk Revue) and the gospel-inspired Speaking In Tongues.

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