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Scott Yanow Reviews Tony Adamo's Latest Single 'Did Mark Murphy Believe in UFOs?'

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Tony Adamo’s tribute to Mark Murphy is simply out of this world.
—Scott Yanow
Tony Adamo
“Did Mark Murphy Believe in UFOS?"
Ropeadope

The hippest of the spoken word artists and a fine singer too, Tony Adamo has long championed jazz. His recordings, which feature him improvising lyrics over a funky jazz rhythm section, have included tributes to such greats as Joe Henderson, Eddie Gale, Sun Ra, Eddie Harris, Mike Clark, and Art Blakey plus B.B. King and James Brown.

Following on the success of his Ropeadope debut Was Out Jazz Zone Mad, his latest single for the Ropeadope label, “Did Mark Murphy Believe In UFOs,” pays homage to the innovative jazz singer Mark Murphy (1932-2015). Murphy stretched bebop to the breaking point with his colorfully eccentric vocals (which sometimes used his memorable falsetto), very original scat singing, and heartfelt interpretations of ballads.

Tony Adamo, who is joined by guitarist Jean C. Santalis in a performance arranged by Barry Schiffman, utilizes some of Michael Franks' lyrics from “Don’t Be Blue” (which refers to a variety of Murphy’s songs) along with his own fresh ideas, both educating and entertaining listeners about the singer while adding to his legacy in a fun and funky manner.

“Did Mark Murphy Believe in UFOs?" While one does not really learn whether he did or not, to use a vintage phrase, Tony Adamo’s tribute is simply “out of this world.”

~Scott Yanow, jazz journalist / historian

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