This riveting album was recorded shortly before Murray McNabb‘s death and says a lot about him as a person and a musician of deep dedication and integrity. The title track begins with elements of Miles’ ‘In a Silent Way’, but very soon gets into its own direction with a very strong sense of spontaneous ‘talking’ between the participants. This is music that has broken free of stylistic expectations, it’s much deeper than that. Murray was a master of setting up spaces and backgrounds that enabled one to express, and that is very evident here. This opening track morphs into a raga-like trance state that is also evident on several others here.
Frank Gibson on drums and Neil Watson on guitar both sound very at ease and relaxed with the proceedings, while at the same time creating intensity and direction over Murray’s inspired frameworks. Each track has many colours and moods, but never give a sense of preconception or posing. Though Murray knew at this stage that his days were numbered, the music is about life, creativity and joy. Standing Baba’s is a groove in five, with Murray setting up the atmosphere with bamboo flute on the intro. Frank makes pertinent comments over the groove and as with all of the music there is a strong sense of communication, direction and that raga-like intensity.
Murray obviously believed the music could be enriched by connection with ethnic music from all over the world and I certainly support him in that. Exit is a duet, starting with an acoustic piano sound sequence that gets expanded with Frank freely commenting. The Other Element is an uptempo jazz six feel which floats freely, its buoyancy promoted by Murray’s beautiful background playing. Mercury Factor is a floating uptempo, drone-based, Frank holding the groove but commenting freely, never bogged down or locked in. Murray’s playing here shows that he had gone way beyond mere ‘lick’ playing and into purer expressiveness. This was Murray McNabb’s gift to the world of music. Dig it!