Sunny Murray, a free jazz drummer who played in famed groups with pianist Cecil Taylor in the 1960s before leading his own bands, has passed away at the age of 82. He also was noted for his work with saxophonist Albert Ayler, a leader in the free jazz movement, which aimed to go beyond the conventions of bebop and modal jazz and untether the improvisation from conventional notions of meter, time, and melody.  It put the drums front and center in the music as a voice equal to the other instruments. He grew up in Philadelphia, the city that has birthed a number of great drummers from Philly Joe Jones and Paul Motian to Questlove and Spanky McCurdy.

“Nefertiti the Beautiful One Has Come,” recorded with Taylor at the Café Montmarte in Cophenhagen, Denmark, is considered a landmark song in the history of free jazz (below).


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Obituaries: WBGO-FM
Jazz Times