If you've gotten hold of their new album (Golden Sea, on Sound Aspects, a German label), then you already know that (1) the duo of tenor saxophone and percussion 'n' traps sounds awfully big in the right hands; (2) the presence of El'Zabar can lend an almost mystical purity to almost any musical context; (3) tenorman Murray seems inspired by that aspect of El'Zabar's musicality to produce some of his best work on record; and (4) the "simplest" music can often have the most enduring impact. Of course, if you haven't heard the album (which is likely, since it's only fitfully available), then you dare not miss El'Zabar and Murray in this rare concert appearance. At first lionized, then castigated for his extroverted facility, Murray continues to evoke critical controversy; but in this format, his rhythmic drive takes over, and the resulting music is impassioned and inarguably ingenuous. True story: the Murray-El'Zabar partnership grew from their mutual love of basketball (both were high school stars) But I doubt the slickest pick-and-roll ever worked as well as this. Sunday, At the Tracks, 325 N. Jefferson; 332-1124.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Lauren Deutsch.