Actuel – 48
1969 (2001 reissue)
A dear friend and vinyl junkie sent me this Sunny Murray record because it was was “too crazy” for him. My buddy first began dipping his toe into jazz last year. He noticed Charles Mingus’ “Oh Yeah!” on David Bowie’s Vanity Fair article which resurfaced last year, in which he lists his favorite albums. As a David Bowie scholar (to me) and fanatic, he wanted to hear the music that moved his idol most, own those same records to experience for himself. Having the jazz seed planted by your idol is as great a place to start as any but from that perspective, I can see how an artist like Sunny Murray would stray him away from his budding interest in jazz. The “which jazz albums should I start with” questions always wind through the Brubeck, Miles and Trane catalogs and rightly so. No one ever suggests Sunny Murray’s “Sunshine” as a good place to start getting into anything, those are choppy waters. It is among the most intense jazz things I’ve ever heard, insanity level turned to 11. I basically scour the bins in search of sonic experiences that impact like this. They are records that immediately mark your psyche.
I’d be genuinely curious to see how a record like this one would resonate with any fans of the more extreme metal genres. To my ears, “Sunshine” is metal as fuck. As brutal as the blackest and the boldest, extreme instrumental duress.
It’d be like that old Metallica t-shirt from the 80s, but a saxophone would be what gets rammed up your poop chute. Such an image begs to be drawn, turned into a t-shirt. Converting Sunny Murray into Metallica font works really well too!
The primary attraction to metal was always its loud, noisy, fast and aggressive nature. Those same qualities are being displayed here, the colors just go way beyond black. Replace the electric guitar with horn players who are out to skull fuck you with a spiritual intensity that achieves nirvana.
Yeah, I’m genuinely curious to know if this record would cause a metalhead to say “turn off that noise”. Because that would be the most ironic thing ever.