Jazz innovator David Murray and acclaimed actor/poet Saul Williams craft a powerful, political expression of the blues, paying homage to a pioneer of Istanbul's jazz scene, Mehmet "Memo" Uluğ. Inspired further by the legendary conductor/cornetist Butch Morris and poet Amiri Baraka, 'Blues for Memo' is a cutting-edge collaboration of jazz and poetry.
At Amiri Baraka’s funeral in 2014, Saul Williams recited a poem imploring the iconic poet, author and social critic to “get out of the coffin” and continue his important work. Sadly, Baraka was beyond hearing the younger poet’s words, but they did reach the ears of one of his closest collaborators: saxophonist David Murray.
Williams’ impassioned reading made such an impression on Murray that a day later he was on the phone, proposing a new collaboration. Williams sent several of his works to Murray, mostly pieces that were soon to be published in his politically scathing 2015 collection, US(a.), which powerfully confronts issues of race, class, gender, economics and culture in modern-day America. The saxophonist responded to the poet’s words with his trademark vigor, resulting in their new album, Blues for Memo.
Recorded in Istanbul at the end of a three-week European tour by request of the legendary Turkish producer Ahmet Uluğ, the album features a stellar band:
David Murray – saxophone
Orrin Evans – piano
Nasheet Waits – drums
Jaribu Shahid- bass
Saul Williams– poetry, spoken word
Craig Harris– trombone
Pervis Evans – vocals
Jason Moran– fender rhodes piano
Aytac Dogan- kanun
Mingus Murray – guitar
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