The weekend appearance of David Murray at Harold's Rogue and Jar was a marvelous triumph for the young saxophonist and the "new" jazz he plays.
Murray, 22, a leader of the Jazz avant-garde, plays with an audacious authority associated with much older performers. He had infectious rythmic vitality and a dramatic sense of melodic construction - on either alto or tenor saxophones, his instruments. Most attractive, however, is his dark cello-like tone on tenor.
But it was not just Murray's music that captivated audiences Friday and Saturday nights. It was also how he combined forces with Ntozake Shange, author of the Broadway play "For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide&When the Rainbow is Enough," who read her searing poetry to his music. She brilliantly interwove her verse about love and music with the jagged melodic and rhythmic patterns of Murray's quartet.
The proceedings grew even warmer when Larry Neal, executive director of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Ilumanities, read his poetry in the manner of an improvising hornman.
Murray's group, baritone saxophonist Hamiet Blveitt Jr., drummer Charles (BoBo) Shaw and bassist Fred Hopkins, is a powerhouse outfit. Their playing ranged from gentle lyricism to powerful ranged from gentle lyricism to powerful ourbursts of sound.