|Birth name||James Marcellus Arthur Murray|
|Born||September 21, 1936|
|Died||December 7, 2017 (aged 81)|
Murray was born in Idabel, Oklahoma and 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 was featured on the influential 1962 concerts in Denmark released as Nefertiti the Beautiful One Has Come.
Murray 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."
After his period with Taylor's group, Murray's influence continued as a core part of Albert Ayler's trio who recorded Spiritual Unity: "Sunny Murray and Albert Ayler did not merely break through bar lines, they abolished them altogether."
Murray died on December 7, 2017 from unspecified causes at the age of 81.
- 1965: Sonny's Time Now
- 1966: Sunny Murray (ESP Disk)
- 1968: Big Chief (EMI/Pathé)
- 1969: Homage to Africa (BYG Actuel)
- 1969: Sunshine (BYG Actuel)
- 1969: An Even Break (Never Give a Sucker) (BYG Actuel)
- 1978: Charred Earth (Kharma)
- 1979: Live at Moers-Festival (Moers)
- 1979: Aigu-Grave (Marge) with Bobby Few, Alan Silva, Richard Raux, Pablo Sauvage
- 1980: Apple Cores (Philly Jazz)
- 1987: Indelicacy (West Wind)
- 1996: 13 Steps on Glass (Enja)
with Cecil Taylor
- Cecil Taylor Jazz Unit, The Early Unit 1962 (Ingo)
- Live at The Cafe Montmartre (Debut)
- Nefertiti, the Beautiful One Has Come (1962)
- It Is in the Brewing Luminous (1980)
with Albert Ayler
- Holy Ghost (Revenant)
- Ghosts (Debut, 1965)
- Spirits (Debut, 1966)
- Swing Low Sweet Spiritual (Osmosis, 1965, ) also released as Goin' Home (Black Lion) with bonus tracks
- Prophecy (ESP Disk)
- Spiritual Unity (ESP Disk)
- New York Eye and Ear Control (ESP Disk)
- Albert Ayler (Philology 88)
- Bells (ESP Disk)
- Spirits Rejoice (ESP Disk)
with Gil Evans
with Jimmy Lyons
- Jump Up/What To Do About (Hathut)
with David Eyges
- Crossroads (Music Unlimited)
with Billy Bang
- Outline No. 12 (Celluloid)
with Khan Jamal
- Infinity (Jam'Brio)
- Change of the Century Orchestra (JAS)
- Speak Easy (Gazell)
- Smoke (FMP)
with Cheikh Tidiane Fall and Malachi Favors
- African Magic (Circle)
with Burton Greene and Alan Silva
- Firmanence (Fore)
with David Murray
with Dave Burrell
- High (Douglas)
- Echo (BYG Actuel)
with Aki Takase
- Clapping Music (Enja)
with The Reform Art Unit
- Subway Performances (Granit)
- Kingdom Come (KFW)
- Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers/Sonny Murray Quartet-1968(JCD)
with Archie Shepp
- Live at the Pan-African Festival (BYG Actuel)
- Yasmina, a Black Woman (BYG Actuel)
- Black Gipsy (America)
- Pitchin Can (America)
- Bill Dixon 7-tette/Archie Shepp and the New York Contemporary 5 (Savoy)
with Gunter Hampel
- Gunter Hampel and His Galaxie Dream Band Journey to the Song Within (Birth)
with Sabir Mateen
- We Are Not at the Opera (Eremite)
with Christian Brazier
- Peregrinations (Bleu Regard)
with Walter Malli
- Geh' langsam durch die alten Gass'n (PAO)
with Kenny Millions
- Loved by Millions (Leo)
- Mayhem in Our Streets (Waterland)
- No Money No Honey (Hum Ha)
with Clifford Thornton
- Ketchaoua (BYG Actuel)
with Arthur Doyle
- Dawn of a New Vibration (Fractual)
- Live at Glenn Miller Café (Ayler)
with Francois Tusques
- Intercommunal Music (Shandar)
- MA Live at Fundacio Juan Miro (Hopscotch)
- The Contemporary Jazz Quartet Featuring Sunny Murray Action (Debut)
- Lock, Graham (1994). Chasing the Vibration. Devon: Stride Publications. p. 120. ISBN 1-873012-81-0.
- Wilmer, Val (1977). As Serious As Your Life. Quartet. ISBN 0-7043-3164-0.
- Litweiler, John (1984). The Freedom Principle: Jazz After 1958. Da Capo.
- Sodomsky, Sam (8 December 2017). "Jazz Drummer Sunny Murray Dead at 81". Pitchfork. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
- Audio Recordings of WCUW Jazz Festivals, Jazz History Database.
- Clifford Allen, "Sunny Murray," All About Jazz, October 14, 2003 (interview).
- Pierre Crépon, "Playing the Theory of Relativity: Sunny Murray in Europe 1968-1972," The Wire, December 2018 (essay).
- Dan Warburton, "Sunny Murray: Interview by Dan Warburton, 3rd November 2000," Paris Transatlantic, 2001 (interview).