Dave Burrell

Daybreak

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Daybreak is a 1989 duo session for these longtime partners but, unfortunately, the empathic nature of their relationship is only taken advantage of sporadically. Two of the pieces, "Sketch #1" by Murray and Burrell's "Blue Hour," are overtly experimental in a fashion that doesn't play to the strengths of these musicians. Both are essentially romantic and melodic players who appear uncomfortable when they step into free improv waters and tend to compensate by overemoting, especially in Murray's case. Even Burrell's lush and inviting title track is blemished by the saxophonist's nagging habit of immediately vaulting into the high registers of his horn, often to sour effect. The possibility of underplaying and subtlety, which the song would seem to deserve, is dismissed early on. Only with the concluding "Qasbah Rendezvous," a beguiling Burrell composition with a Middle Eastern theme, is Murray reined in. The composer's prickly solo in this case both contrasts with and offsets the lovely, twining melody in a satisfying manner. Listeners are better advised to hear these two often masterful musicians in the context of Murray's quartet of the time, with Fred Hopkins and Andrew Cyrille, to better hear their capabilities.

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