Dave McMurray is blowing his own horn these days.
The Detroit saxophonist and onetime Cranbrook Academy student is loaded up with projects. A new, mostly covers album, "The Covers Collection," comes out during early 2015, while in January he'll be recording a trio jazz album at Rust Belt Studios in Royal Oak. And, oh yeah, as part of Kid Rock's Twisted Brown Trucker band McMurray played on some of Rock's new album, "First Kiss," which comes out Feb. 24.
"I've been keeping up with things pretty good," says McMurray, who was a member of Was (Not Was) and also plays with French singer Johnny Hallyday. "I like to be busy, and the stuff I'm doing now is really interesting."
McMurray says that "The Covers Collection," which features a guest appearance by Twisted Brown Trucker keyboardist Jimmie Bones, came from "playing around" with a few song ideas, including Sam Smith's "Stay With Me" and Leon Russell's "A Song For You." "I try to pick songs that have a strong melody -- you never known until you actually start playing," McMurray explains. "If it has the melody then it opens it up for me to put my feel on it. Every song is not going to fit that, but when I find them i can turn them into my thing and it works out well."
The trio album, meanwhile, will present its own unique challenge.
"My sax has to carry a lot in that format, so it's kind of less and more at the same time," McMurray says. "I've been listening to people like Sonny Rollins and Joe Henderson and how they approached playing like that (in a trio). I think I'm going to just play a lot of sax and go from minimal to a lot and just make it really interesting to the listeners.
McMurray adds that he may include some guest players on other instruments, including keyboards, for the album. His upcoming stand at the Dirty Dog in Grosse Pointe, meanwhile, will feature mostly "older stuff" from his previous albums as well as some material from "The Cover Collection."
Wednesday-Saturday, Dec. 17-20. Seatings start at 6 p.m.
The Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe, 97 Kercheval, Grosse Pointe.
$15 cover on Friday and Saturday only.
Call 313-882-5299 or visit www.dirtydogjazz.com
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