Sunday, March 14, 2010


Jazz singer Mark Murphy, was born on March 14, 1932, in Syracuse, New York. He was raised in a musical family, his parents having met as members of the local Methodist Church choir. He grew up in the nearby small town of Fulton, New York where his grandmother and then his aunt were the church organists.

He is most noted for his definitive and unique vocalese and vocal improvisations with both melody and lyrics. He is the recipient of the 1996, 1997, 2000, and 2001 Down Beat magazine readers jazz poll for Best Male Vocalist of the Year and is also the recipient of six Grammy award nominations for Best Vocal Jazz Performance.

Murphy joined his brother's jazz dance band as the singer when a teenager, citing influences from Nat "King "Cole, June Christy, Anita O'Day and Ella Fitzgerald. Jazz piano legend Art Tatum was also an influence.

Murphy was eventually introduced to record producer Milt Gabler, who was an artist and repertoire director (A & R) for Decca. Gabler compared Murphy to Mel Thormé and predicated that his impact would “scare Frank Sinatra”.

His resulting debut recording was "Meet Mark Murphy" (1956), followed closely by "Let Yourself Go" (1957). These are both now reissued on one CD entitled "Crazy Rhythm: His Debut Recordings" (Decca GRD-670).

In 1958 Murphy moved to Los Angeles and recorded for Capitol, but returned to New York in the early '60s and recorded the now classic jazz album [1961] "Rah" on the Riverside label, performing "Angel Eyes", a famous version of Horace Silver's "Doodlin', and "Green Dolphin Street", featuring legendary jazz players Bill Evans, Clark Terry, Urbie Green, Blue Mitchell and Wynton Kelly. This album has been reissued [1993] by Fantasy Records. His favorite recording to date, "That's How I Love the Blues" soon followed. In 1963, Murphy hit the charts across the country with his single of "Fly Me To the Moon" and was voted "New Star of the Year" in Downbeat Magazine's Reader's Poll.

Murphy moved to London, England in the late 1960s where he worked primarily as an actor. He continued however, to cultivate his jazz audiences in Europe. He returned to the States in 1972 and began recording an average of an album a year for over fourteen years on the Muse label. These projects - including the highly acclaimed Nat King Cole Songbook Vol. I and II, Bop for Kerouac I and II, Living Room, Satisfaction Guaranteed, Beauty And the Beast and his classic, Stolen Moments - garnered widespread critical acclaim and numerous Grammy nominations. This last album contains Liver nelson's instrumental standard "Stolen Moments" with lyrics by Murphy.

In 1984 together with Viva Brasil he recorded the album Brazil Song (Canções do Brasil) which featured original material written by the cream of Brazilian songwriting including work by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Milton Nascimento. In 1987, He recorded "Night Mood", an album of songs by Brazilian composer Ivan Lins, followed by the Grammy-nominated "September Ballads" on Milestone Records.

Murphy’s but one release "Once to Every Heart" (2005) on the Verve Records label, features sensuous ballads, where the listener can capture him singing in top form, with superb musicians and sounding better than ever.

Mark Murphy continues to tour internationally year round, appearing at festivals, concerts, in the best jazz clubs and on television programs throughout the U.S., Europe, Australia and Japan. While he already has an "heir apparent" in the excellent Chicago-based singer Kurt Elling, Murphy seems always to remain several steps ahead and obviously has no intention of retiring. He is one of the most important jazz vocalists of our time.

Mark sings, Ivan Lins' "Before We Lose Tomorrow".

Recommended CDs

1965 Swingin' Singin' Affair (Fontana)
1975 Mark Murphy Sings (Muse)
1977 Mark Murphy Sings Mostly Dorothy Fields & Cy Coleman (Audiophile)
1978 Stolen Moments (Muse)
1982 The Artistry of Mark Murphy (Muse)
1983 Brazil Song (Cancoes Do Brazil) (Muse)
1983 Mark Murphy Sings the Nat King Cole Songbook (Muse)
1985 Beauty and the Beast (Muse)
1991 Night Mood (Ivan Lins Songs) (Milestone)
1996 North Sea Jazz Sessions, Vol. 5 (Jazz World)
2000 The Latin Porter (Go Jazz)
2001 Links (High Note)
2002 Lucky to Be Me (High Note)
2003 Memories of You (High Note)
2004 Bop for Miles (High Note)
2005 Once to Every Heart (Verve)
2007 Love Is What Stays (Verve)

Reference - Wikipédia

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