205

Mark Murphy: Bop for Miles

By

Sign in to view read count
Mark Murphy: Bop for Miles Simply put, Mark Murphy is one of the great jazz singers. His musical gifts remain prodigious, his depth of expression a model for all who practice this art, his recordings reside in the treasure trove of vocal jazz.

On his current recording, Bop for Miles , Murphy is in top form, ebullient and able to carry off any idea with ease. Herein, though, lies the problem. When he unleashes the full scope of his musical talent without tether to his expressive side, too often the songs suffer, losing their individuality and their shape. This is an odd tribute to Miles, a player who, no matter the tempo or mood, always sang a song. Take, for example, "Summertime," devoid here of the song's inherent pensiveness as well as the sting of Miles' classic Gil Evans-arranged performance. A successful homage need not be a slavish imitation of the original, but shouldn't that model be more than just a passing reference?

There are times where all facets of Murphy's genius shine through, as on "Bye Bye Blackbird," not a distinguished composition, though one that Miles relished. So too does the singer, especially in a brilliant scatted passage, reminding us of his preeminence in this area. "On Green Dolphin Street" likewise receives its due, unfolding into a lovely samba that illuminates Bronislaw Kaper's gorgeous melody. "Parker's Mood," on the other hand, which weds Charlie Parker's indigo blues to King Pleasure's elegiac lyric, is too offhand to convey the song's intrinsic pathos. The second elegy, Mingus' "Goodbye Porkpie Hat" (with the Joni Mitchell lyric, not the more incisive one by Roland Kirk) does not fare much better.

Mark Murphy is a great singer, exemplified by his exceptional musicianship, deep understanding of and projection of lyrics, a keen understanding of his voice and how to use it, and the sound of surprise. He is a risk taker, a singer who can execute the most dazzling passage, without losing the story. When these elements all work together, what a joy. When they do not, it is still interesting, and still musical as he proved over four nights last month at Birdland.

Track Listing: 1 All Blues 6:44 2 Summertime 4:08 3 Autumn Leaves 3:35 4 Bye Bye Blackbird 6:03 5 On Green Dolphin Street 7:22 6 My Ship 3:10 7 Farmer's Market 7:30 8 Goodbye Pork Pie Hat 5:01 9 Parker's Mood 5:48 10 Milestones 5:25 11 Miles 2:59

Personnel: Vito Lesczak: Drums; Peter Mihelich: Piano; Mark Murphy: Vocals; Allan Praskin: Saxophone; Achim Tang: Bass.

Title: Bop For Miles | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: HighNote Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Hallways" CD/LP/Track Review Hallways
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 24, 2017
Read "Testimony" CD/LP/Track Review Testimony
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 26, 2017
Read "Where the Blue Begins" CD/LP/Track Review Where the Blue Begins
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 7, 2017
Read "Impulsive Illuminations" CD/LP/Track Review Impulsive Illuminations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 28, 2016
Read "The Harry Warren Song Book" CD/LP/Track Review The Harry Warren Song Book
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 31, 2017
Read "Compass" CD/LP/Track Review Compass
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 28, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.