David Murray's recorded output has included solo dates, sessions with quartets, quintets, octets, big bands and duos, for numerous European labels (notably Italy's Black Saint), as well as for Japan's DIW label. In addition, he has recorded with Music Revelation Ensemble, Clarinet Summit, and Jack DeJohnette's Special Addition (ECM). Murray is also a founding member, with Hamiet Bluiett, Oliver Lake and Julius Hemphill, of the World Saxophone Quartet, an ensemble with whom he continues to record and perform. Murray's voice is distinctive, though one can hear in his playing the influence of such classic tenor saxophonists as Ben Webster, Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins.
He's as comfortable playing free jazz as he is playing a gorgeous ballad, firmly in the tradition. No matter the setting, Murray always maintains absolute control of his instrument and he doesn't stop at the tenor saxophone. He has been called the most famous bass clarinetist since Eric Dolphy, and was leader of the aforementioned Clarinet Summit, whose other members included John Carter, Jimmy Hamilton and Alvin Batiste.
A native of Berkeley, California, Murray started on tenor at age nine and led various groups as a young man. It wasn't long after his move to New York in the mid-seventies that Murray made a name for himself, building on his fiery, Ayler-esque sound and explosive delivery. After living for a long while in New York, Murray is now based in Paris (his office, "3D Family," is named after one of his Hat Hut recordings), which enables him to perform extensively throughout Europe, the former Eastern Bloc countries as well as the Far East, while continuing to perform regularly in the United States.