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Arthur Doyle & Sunny Murray - At Glenn Miller Café

Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic

It might say "Arthur Doyle" on the album spine, but the first three tracks of this disc recorded last March in the Glenn Miller Café in Stockholm belong to drummer Sunny Murray and altoist Bengt "Frippe" Nordström, an early pioneer of Swedish free jazz who died shortly after this recording was made (hence perhaps this homage).
Doyle finally shows up on track four, "African Love Call", playing uncharacteristic (for him) choppy bursts of tenor over an almost funky strut laid down by Murray. The recording wisely mixes Murray's drums behind Doyle's horns (live gigs have often found the saxophonist at something of a disadvantage when it comes to competing with Sunny's volcanic onslaughts), and the interplay between the musicians is evident throughout.
Doyle's ecstatic scat singing on "Two Free Jazz Men Speak" is superb, and Murray's rock-solid groove utterly infectious. With reference to my extended interview with Murray and his wish to be acknowledged by younger drummers, his playing on this album ought to serve as an inspiration for generations to come.
Doyle's reading of "Nature Boy" (which makes an interesting comparison with the duo's purely instrumental version of the same track on last year's excellent studio album "Dawn of a New Vibration" on Fractal) is awesome. Throw away your copy of George Benson's version and check this out, because both of these special musicians are still, to quote John Zorn, kicking butt.