In avant-garde jazz, inside and outside playing have a way of complimenting each other. On Ugly Beauty, which finds Boston pianist Donal Fox forming a cohesive duo with tenor saxman/bass clarinetist David Murray, the inside and outside are fine companions. Some of Murray's playing on this collection of live and studio recordings from 1993 is quite melodic, and the fact that his playing is as lyrical as it is on the Thelonious Monk classics "Ugly Beauty" and "'Round Midnight" makes his dissonant, chaotic statements on "Golden Ladders," "Hope Scope," and "Becca's Ballad" seem all the more dramatic and meaningful. The inside/outside contrasts keep things unpredictable on this rewarding album, which Fox and Murray can both be proud of.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson