Past Event

RESCHEDULED: Desert Island Discs w/ David Murray

Now 63, tenor saxophonist-bass clarinetist-composer David Murray, perhaps the most recorded improviser of his generation, has elicited strong responses throughout his 45-year career. Most recently, he’s been touring behind the album Blues For Memo, a collaboration between his quartet (Orrin Evans, piano; Jaribu Shahid, bass; and Nasheet Waits-drums) and poet-vocalist Saul Williams. It’s the most recent in a string of releases that includes a collaborative project with Cassandra Wilson and Ishmael Reed; a fully staged opera dedicated to the iconic Afro-Russian poet Alexander Pushkin; another opera about Harlem numbers king Bumpy Johnson with a libretto by the late Amiri Baraka; big band and string music for Cuban ensembles; and for bands comprised of musicians from Guadeloupe (Creole), Yonn-de, and Gwotet), Senegal (Fo Deuk Revue), and the Black American Church (Speaking in Tongues).

A native of California’s Bay Area, Murray moved to New York in 1975, after a few years at the University of California-Claremont, where he studied and performed with Stanley Crouch, as well as the likes of Arthur Blythe, Bobby Bradford, John Carter, James Newton, and Butch Morris. He moved to New York in 1975, and quickly established himself as one of the jazz capital’s busiest musicians, establishing a worldwide fan bass through the lyric swagger and raw edge of his tonal personality. He moved to Paris in 1995, but took an apartment in Harlem several years ago.

Conversant with tenor saxophone vocabulary spanning Paul Gonsalves and Coleman Hawkins to Albert Ayler, as well as a comprehensive array of Afro-diasporic dialects, he’s the ideal Desert Island Disk presenter.


In the fall of 2015, the National Jazz Museum in Harlem debuted its version of Desert Island Discs. It’s modeled on an iconic BBC radio show, extant since 1942, which invites eminences from various walks of life to choose—and discuss—the eight records they would bring for a stay on the apocryphal desert island. For the Jazz Museum’s expanded version curated and hosted by esteemed journalist Ted Panken, the presenters are jazz musicians, who will present a cohort of music, of any genre, that was essential in the formation and evolution of their musical personality.