A fascinating collection that GRP put out in 1999, Crazy Rhythm focuses on the early recordings of Mark Murphy, who was only 24 and 25 when he provided this material for Decca in 1956 and 1957. Back then, the singer wasn't the cutting-edge risk-taker he would evolve into in the 1960s. The young Murphy heard on this CD is a likable crooner with a strong passion for Mel Torme--Murphy wasn't scatting a lot at that point, and he had yet to seriously get into vocalese and modal improvising or put lyrics to an abundance of post-bop and hard bop instrumentals. Nonetheless, one could hear a lot of potential in Murphy, whose versions of "Fascinating Rhythm," "Exactly Like You" and other standards on this 20-song CD are enjoyable and nicely executed, if rather conventional. Those getting into Murphy for the first time would be better off starting out with some of his more adventurous recordings of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, but seasoned Murphy fans will find Crazy Rhythm to be quite interesting.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson