Melvin Edward Alton Murphy, 16 December 1915, Palermo, California, USA, d. 30 May 1987, San Francisco, California, USA. Murphys early career was as a trombonist in popular dance bands such as that led by Mal Hallett, but in the late 30s he joined the revivalist band led by Lu Watters and remained there for most of the next decade. After leaving Watters he formed his own band, gaining just as much fame and popularity as Watters had, and a similarly high level of critical disdain. Murphy opened his own club, Earthquake McGoons, in San Francisco and continued to lead his band there and around the world until shortly before his death in 1987. An earthy, sometimes raucous but always entertaining player, Murphy was one of the key figures in retaining public interest in traditional jazz during a period, and in a place (the west coast) that saw most critical attention directed to other styles of music.
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