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Primary Instrument: Drums

Born: September 21, 1937

James Marcellus Arthur “Sunny” Murray (born Idabel, Oklahoma in 1936) is one of the pioneers of the free jazz style of drumming.

Murray spent his youth in Philadelphia before moving to New York City where he began playing with Cecil Taylor: “We played for about a year, just practicing, studying - we went to workshops with Varèse, did a lot of creative things, just experimenting, without a job” He featured on the influential 1962 concerts in Denmark released as Nefertiti the Beautiful One Has Come.

He was among the first to forgo the drummer's traditional role as timekeeper in favor of purely textural playing. “Murray's aim was to free the soloist completely from the restrictions of time, and to do this he set up a continual hailstorm of percussion ... continuous ringing stickwork on the edge of the cymbals, an irregular staccato barrage on the snare, spasmodic bass drum punctuation and constant, but not metronomic, use of the sock-cymbal”...
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Music

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    Sunny Murray: Big Chief


    2009
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    Sunny Murray

    ESP Disk
    2008
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    The Gearbox Explodes!

    Foghorn Records
    2008
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    Big Chief

    Eremite Records
    2008
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    Home Cooking in the UK

    Foghorn Records
    2005
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    Home Cooking In The Uk

    West Wind
    2004
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    Homage To Africa

    Eremite Records
    2002
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