248

Mark Murphy: Dim The Lights

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count
"You live and you learn the rules of the road." So go Carolyn Leigh’s lyrics to Cy Coleman’s classic song. His experience gives Mark Murphy, 67, the insight to perform a romantic album his way with each song’s meaning clearly at the forefront. Make no mistake about it, this highly recommended album – a combination of slow ballads and up-tempo romps – brings out the goosebumps and leaves lingering thoughts that last for days. But Murphy also injects his fresh manner of scat-singing a tune alongside those tender moments. Long known as "a hipster’s hipster," the singer was first "discovered" by Sammy Davis, Jr. in 1953 at a jam session in Syracuse, New York - Murphy’s hometown - when the veteran singer invited the 21-year-old bopster to join him on stage. Since then Mark Murphy has never been what you’d call predictable. His dozens of recordings borrow from the beat poetry of Jack Kerouac, the soulful vocalese of Eddie Jefferson, the pretty ballads of Nat King Cole, and more.

A loping blues highlighting Benny Green’s strengths starts the session with an uplifting mood. It goes directly downhill from there into the stark realities of romance, requiring a box of tissue, a soft pillow, and a quiet moment. The title track, "Dim the Lights," sets the mood correctly with Murphy’s lyrics about looking back at memories of what could have been. Bill Evans’ "Two Lonely People" offers deep dramatic insight, while Hein Van De Geyn’s "North Sea Night" paints a picture of lasting desire, and Peggy Lee’s lyrics from "I’m In Love Again" remind us that we’ve seen all that before and look forward to better days. They’re sad songs with a lot to think about. A trilogy of "Beautiful Love," "Lullaby of the Leaves" and "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise" is performed by multi-tracking the three tunes on top of each other, blending them proportionately with lyrics and scat singing. The trilogy adds a light touch to the album and serves to represent the mixed feelings we sometimes get from relationships. As the session nears the end, "Corcovado" bounces a little to brighten up the day with Gene Lees’ lyrics about being happy together again. Murphy and Green stir the emotions and provide an opportunity to just sit back and let yourself go.


Track Listing: Your Red Wagon; Rules of the Road; Street of Dreams; Trilogy: Beautiful Love / Lullaby of the Leaves / Softly As In A Morning Sunrise; A Quiet Place; Dim the Lights; See You Later; Two Lonely People; It Amazes Me; North Sea Night; Time All Gone; I Never Know When to Say When / I

Personnel: Mark Murphy- vocals; Benny Green- piano.

Title: Dim The Lights | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Millennium Recordings


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Elusive CD/LP/Track Review Elusive
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Transitions CD/LP/Track Review Transitions
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Incidentals CD/LP/Track Review Incidentals
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Door Girl CD/LP/Track Review Door Girl
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Heart Knows CD/LP/Track Review Heart Knows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Jersey CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2017
Read "Sharpener" CD/LP/Track Review Sharpener
by Nick Davies
Published: December 21, 2016
Read "Afro-Caribbean Mixtape" CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Carve" CD/LP/Track Review Carve
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 17, 2017
Read "Blue And Lonesome" CD/LP/Track Review Blue And Lonesome
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 9, 2016
Read "NJO 40" CD/LP/Track Review NJO 40
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 1, 2017
Read "Ballet: The Music Of Michael Gibbs" CD/LP/Track Review Ballet: The Music Of Michael Gibbs
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 23, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.