David Murray: Tea For Two

The often avant-garde saxophonist remains relatively restrained in this 1990 duet with the mainstream French pianist Arvanitas


The full title is Georges Arvanitas presents… The Ballad Artistry Of… David Murray: Tea For Two. Given that the late French pianist Arvanitas collaborated with so many different musicians from various strands of the jazz world, it made logical sense for him to be teamed up with the wholly contemporary saxophonist David Murray back in 1990. Murray, despite his natural leanings, has always displayed a respectful acknowledgment of the past masters, both verbally and musically.

These were solid rather than inspired performances from the duo, the pianist’s more conservative approach perhaps restraining Murray from going further outside, although the saxophonist appears to be comfortable within this atmosphere. He displays a number of his trademark nuances, including his inclination to leap to the higher register but these controlled forays are kept to a minimum.

Arvanitas is a reliable partner, hinting at various aspects and styles of the pianist’s art, either acting as a bedrock for the saxophonist, contributing appropriate fills or playing a number of balanced solos appropriate for the occasion.

Murray never goes totally “classic” tenor on us but one gets the impression he would have been more than comfortable and hugely capable of sparring with the likes of Coleman Hawkins or Lester Young – holding his own in the process.

This may be a little bit of a curate’s egg in Murray’s discography but it is nonetheless an enjoyable listen which should, on this re-release, attract jazz followers of various persuasions.

Chelsea Bridge; Polka Dots And Moonbeams; Star Eyes; Body And Soul; Tea For Two; I’m In The Mood For Love; Blues For Two; La Vie En Rose (68.09)
Georges Arvanitas (p); David Murray (ts). Barcelona, 19 May 1990.
Fresh Sound FSR-CD 5066