Die-hard fans of David Murray's avant-garde work should be forewarned. While elements of the artist's wild, swirling approach to the tenor crop up throughout, THE TIP is primarily a down home, deeply groovy funk record. Those who are familiar with Murray's remarkable recording history might be taken aback. This is the realm of mid-'60s Blue Note albums, not of outer limits exploration, and Murray recalls Maceo Parker here as often as he does Albert Ayler.
But Murray's playing has always been soulful and rhythmically inclined, and the jams he turns out on the opening cover of Sly Stone's "Sex Machine" will challenge even the staunchest of critics. A reggae interpretation of Murray's own "Flowers For Albert" changes the flavor of that classic composition, while irresistible, snaky grooves dominate tracks like "M.D." and the title cut. Murray plays with as much focus and imagination as ever, and THE TIP shows his depth and diversity as a musician as well as his willingness to explore new formats. THE TIP is an accessible, energetic, and thoroughly enjoyable Murray outing.