David Murray '77's Commencement Speech
Note: Text of the speech may be provided at a later date.
David Murray '77 is an internationally acclaimed jazz saxophonist. He attended Pomona College for two years, studying under Stanley Crouch and Bobby Bradford, before launching his career as a musician and composer. He has founded and led a variety of well-regarded groups, including the David Murray Octet and the World Saxophone Quartet. Recording in the U.S. and abroad, he released more than 150 albums covering a range of genres, from avant-garde jazz to big band, from a Grateful Dead tribute (Dead Star, 1996) to opera ("The Blackamoor of Peter the Great," 2004, and "The Sisyphus Revue," 2008). Most recently, he released David Murray Cuban Ensemble Plays Nat King Cole en Español (2011), and he is collaborating on an upcoming recording project with Macy Gray. According to jazz critic Gary Giddins, "Few musicians in jazz history have proven more vigorously productive and resourceful than David Murray.... As a tenor saxophonist, he has perfected an instantly recognizable approach to improvisation that even in its freest flights acknowledges the gravity of a tradition he honors more than most." He has been recognized with the Bird Award (1986), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1989) and the Danish Jazzpar Prize (1991), in addition to being named the Village Voice's Musician of the Decade (1980) and Newsday's Musician of the Year (1993).