Option (5-6/96, p.106) - "...Murray is one of improvisational music's most gifted, if mercurial voices to come along since the `60s....[Fox] has evolved an intriguing mating of European classical music with its African-American counterpart....This collaborative venture is brimming with supple intelligence, overarching romanticism and the rare art of surprise."
Personnel: Donal Fox (piano); David Murray (tenor saxophone, bass clarinet).
Producers: Calvin A. Lindsay, Jr. (tracks 1-4, 6-8); Steve Schwartz (tracks 5, 9-10).
Engineers: Tom Pugh (tracks 1-4, 6-8); Alan Mattes (tracks 5, 9-10).
Recorded at Studio B, WGBH and Guest Quarters Suite Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts on March 24-25, 1993. Includes liner notes by Jon Garelick and Amiri Baraka.
All songs written by Donal Fox or David Murray except "Ugly Beauty" (Thelonious Monk) and "'Round Midnight" (Thelonious Monk/Bernard Hanighen/Charles Williams).
Personnel: David Murray (bass clarinet, tenor saxophone); Donal Fox (piano).
Liner Note Authors: Jon Garelick; Amiri Baraka.
Recording information: Guest Quarters Suite Hotel, Boston, MA (03/24/1993-03/25/1993); Studio B, WGBH Boston, MA (03/24/1993-03/25/1993).
Photographer: R. Andrew Lepley.
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. ~ Alex Henderson