186

Mark Murphy: Some Time Ago

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Mark Murphy: Some Time Ago A preface to this review is order. I’m something of a curmudgeonly customer when it comes to jazz vocals. I can readily dig on classic (and admittedly popular) singers such as Holiday, Fitzgerald, Vaughn, Simone and so on. But when it comes to male vocalists, not only are the numbers comparatively smaller, but the pool of contenders seems to my ears spread far thinner. A few notables, such as Bill Henderson and Johnny Hartman, come to mind but even these illustrious crooners had their share of off days. The human voice may be the most complex of all musical instruments, but it’s been saddled with the greatest number of clichés, particularly when it comes to jazz singing.

With his latest recording (according to the liners his 32nd!) Murphy hasn’t made a complete believer out of me, but he makes a convincing argument nonetheless. There’s a smoky after hours ambiance to both his delivery and that of his backing combo that dispenses with triviality early on and concentrates simply on playing from the collective heart. Racy, bop-inflected numbers like Oscar Pettiford’s “Bohemia After Dark” are interspersed with darker, more ruminative offerings such as the velvety reading of “With Every Breath You Take. There’s even a rollicking rendition of the old Jazz Messengers classic “Mosaic” that ignites along a trail of melodic gunpowder sown by Ballou’s ballistic brass.

Across all of the tunes Murphy receives sensitive and supple accompaniment from his sidemen. Mezquida sometimes sounds reticent to blow in tandem with Murphy’s lyrics opting more frequently for background shading between the leader’s choruses. Musiker, who handles the musical arrangements, fronts the rhythm section with a firm, but flexible hands. LaSpina and Smith alternate bass chores, but both players match well with Harper’s sensitive brushes and mallets.

Though he favors a brand of scat singing that wobbles and falters a bit into indulgent repetition, Murphy can’t be faulted for an absence of sincerity. He wears his emotions on his proverbial sleeves, doling them out in honest increments to all that will take the time to listen. The naked emotiveness comes to a melancholy head on the closing medley, where Murphy laments a solitary existence spent in the absence of love.

Murphy is a seasoned veteran and as such he’s long since surpassed the need to prove himself. The security of both of his position and his artistry is conveyed handsomely through this recording and make it recommendable even to those (such as myself) who might be a tough sell.

Tracks:There’s No More Blue Time/ Peacocks/ Bohemia After Dark/ With Every Breath I Take (from “City of Angels”)*/ You’re My Alter Ego/ Life’s Mosaic*/ Some Time Ago*/ That Old Black Magic/ Medley: Why Was I Born, I’m a Fool To Want You*.

Players:Mark Murphy- vocals; Dave Ballou- trumpet; Allan Mezquida- alto saxophone; Lee Musiker- piano/arranger; Steve LaSpina- bass; Sean Smith- bass*; Winard Harper- drums.

Recorded: December 27-28, 1999, NYC, NY.


Title: Some Time Ago | Year Released: 2000


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read I Know Who I Am CD/LP/Track Review I Know Who I Am
by James Nadal
Published: July 26, 2017
Read With You In Mind CD/LP/Track Review With You In Mind
by Doug Collette
Published: July 26, 2017
Read Departure CD/LP/Track Review Departure
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 26, 2017
Read Roll On CD/LP/Track Review Roll On
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 25, 2017
Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 25, 2017
Read "Elegy" CD/LP/Track Review Elegy
by John Kelman
Published: January 20, 2017
Read "So Cute, So Bad" CD/LP/Track Review So Cute, So Bad
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 5, 2017
Read "Purple Patio" CD/LP/Track Review Purple Patio
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 27, 2016
Read "Bekkenjordet" CD/LP/Track Review Bekkenjordet
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 15, 2017
Read "Split Kick - Live In Sweden 1972" CD/LP/Track Review Split Kick - Live In Sweden 1972
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 14, 2016
Read "Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960" CD/LP/Track Review Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 29, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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