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Growing up in Syracuse, NY, Spencer Murphy counts his childhood experiences in his
hometown scene as instrumental in his development as an acoustic and electric bassist.
Born into a musical family, His first experiences with live music were going to see his
father's group, an 11-piece swing / jump blues / soul outfit that aimed to carry on the
musical traditions of Cab Calloway, Louis Jordan, Sam & Dave, and Ray Charles. These
performances inspired Spencer to pick up the bass at age 12, soon beginning a lengthy
educational relationship with bassist Phil Flanigan, which continues to this day. As he
began to develop proficiency on his instrument, Spencer's association with the Central New
York Jazz Arts Foundation led to opportunities to perform with world-renowned visiting
artists including Phil Woods, Bobby Watson, Houston Person, and Tom “Bones” Malone, all
before he had graduated from high school.
In 2006, Spencer was accepted into the jazz studies program at SUNY Purchase, where he has studied privately with Todd Coolman, Doug Weiss, and Dave Ruffels, as well as in ensemble settings with Hal Galper, Javon Jackson, Ralph Lalama, and Steve Wilson. Since moving to the New York City area, he has honed his craft as a sideman, most notably in performances supporting Pete Malinverni's 80-piece Soul Voices choir, both as a vocalist and as an instrumentalist. This past May, he had the pleasure of performing with the Soul Voices at Symphony Space as part of the Upper West Fest concert series. 2008 finds him performing with saxophonists Joel Frahm and Charlie Lagond, as well as Grammy- nominated guitarist Gil Parris.
Spencer's position as both a keeper of the straight-ahead flame and a strong supporter of the forward progression of this music has led to steady engagements at New York's legendary Smalls Jazz Club, the incubator for two generations of jazz before him. You can catch him leading a trio every Saturday night, hosting the Smalls jam session.