Mark Murphy Biography

14 March 1932, Syracuse, New York, USA. Murphy began singing as a child and in his mid-teens was performing with a band led by his brother. He worked in many parts of the USA, and had built a small reputation for himself in New York when the appearance of several albums in the late 50s announced that the jazz world had a new and important singer in its midst. During the 60s he continued to tour, visiting Europe and making more fine records with Al Cohn (That’s How I Love The Blues) and a group drawn from the Clarke-Boland Big Band (Midnight Mood). In the middle of the decade he decided to settle in Europe and worked extensively on the Continent (including dates with the Dutch Metropole Orchestra), with occasional visits to the UK. In the early 70s Murphy returned to the USA, where he recorded with Michael Brecker and Randy Brecker on Bridging A Gap (1972) and the later Satisfaction Guaranteed (1979), and continued to attract new audiences with an impressive series of albums for the Muse Records label. In the early 90s Murphy began pulling in newcomers attracted by the acid-jazz revival of his version of ‘Milestones’. During this decade and into the 00s he collaborated with acid jazz and electronica acts including United Future Organization, 4 Hero and Till Bronner. His own recordings have continued to explore new territory, most notably 1997’s Grammy-nominated vocalese outing Song For The Geese.

Murphy’s repertoire is extensive and draws upon sources as diverse as ‘Big’ Joe Turner and Jon Hendricks. An accomplished stylist who sings with panache, good humour and great vocal dexterity, Murphy has remained dedicated to jazz. This commitment has been unswayed by the fact that his warm voice and highly personable stage presentation would almost certainly have guaranteed him a successful and much more lucrative career in other areas of popular music.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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