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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Murphy: A Beautiful Friendship: Remembering Shirley Horn

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In his time, vocalist Mark Murphy has been described as hip, cool, swinging, fearless, gruff, and eccentric (among other things). Some-- but most definitely not all--of these terms could also be applied to Shirley Horn. So it's fitting that Murphy should pay tribute to his compatriot, as he does on A Beautiful Friendship: Remembering Shirley Horn, even though Murphy acknowledges that the two vocal legends didn't know each other too well.This four-track vinyl EP (accompanied by a download code) was first envisioned by pianist/arranger George Mesterhazy, who had worked with Horn and Murphy but died before the project ...

ARTIST PROFILES

Mark Murphy: Inside the Mystery

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Beyond its stylistic differentiators, jazz contains what vocalist Mark Murphy calls “a wonderful mystery," a mystery that was fostered in small, regional clubs around the US during the '30s-40s, when Murphy was developing the distinctive vocal style that launched his decades-long career. “I've seen this mysterious quality of jazz set rooms on fire," Murphy attests. “[Rooms] where nothing was going on until the band shuffled up and this musical rhythmic thing would happen right there on the spot." It was Murphy's intuitive grasp of “this musical rhythmic thing" that gave him an early foothold in the ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Slightly After the Fact: Mark Murphy's Once to Every Heart / Marc Johnson's Shades of Jade

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From the usual vantage, singer Mark Murphy's Once to Every Heart and bassist Marc Johnson's Shades of Jade would seem to have little in common, save for the forename of their bandleaders and the fact that they're both on Universal imprints (Verve and ECM respectively). The first is a vocal album of standard ballads backed by more or less traditional arrangements; the second is an instrumental, very much in line with the somber, pensive, and progressive nature of the ECM catalogue.From a much more limited perspective--my own--these two discs are like Siamese twins, having inadvertently paired themselves in ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Mark Murphy at The Iridium, NYC

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Mark Murphy The Iridium New York, New York October 4, 2007

Most folks would probably deem Mark Murphy a bit of an eccentric figure, but it's this very individuality that has marked him as one of the most distinctive jazz singers in the music's history--not only his voice but his whole storytelling persona, his demeanour and delivery. Is Murphy in the throes of early senility, so abstract is his poise? Or is this, as has always been the case, his naturally “stoned" persona, the epitome of hipness and laid-back cool? Don't worry about his ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Murphy: Love is What Stays

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The cover of Mark Murphy's Love is What Stays features a tight close-up of the 75-year-old singer staring unflinchingly into the camera, the ravages of age clear on his face. It's a fitting counterpart to the music inside, which fearlessly confronts the passage of time from the vantage point of one considering his own mortality. Produced in Berlin by trumpeter Till Bronner with lush string arrangements on several tunes, the album covers an astoundingly wide range of material--from Alan Jay Lerner to Johnny Cash to Coldplay--all delivered by Murphy in a whiskey-laced baritone that has grown somewhat ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Mark Murphy at Blues Alley, Washington, DC

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Mark Murphy Blues Alley Washington, DC July 11, 2007

I may not be the most aggressive advocate of Blues Alley, but the intimate eighteenth-century carriage house in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC has been host to countless jazz legends for over forty years. The lackluster food, indifferent service and an increasingly commercial booking agenda can easily be a disincentive to all but the most intrepid jazz listener. However, it remains one of the few venues in the city where vocalist Mark Murphy can perform in relative comfort and intimacy. In a rare, and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Murphy: Once To Every Heart

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Mark Murphy just gets better and better, to steal a phrase, like an elegant wine. And he is fearless. In his distinguished career, he's covered it all: blues, Latin, contemporary pop, songbooks (most notably Cole Porter, Joe Williams, Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields). And he still remains one of the foremost interpreters of the Great American Songbook. The ballads-only session Once to Every Heart, his first offering on Verve, finds him at the top of his art. He revives the wonderful “I'm Through with Love in a reflective performance laced with sadness, restraining his impulse to use ...



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