Mark Murphy

Stolen...And Other Moments

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Mark Murphy at the beginning of his career was only one among hundreds of young male vocalists in the jazz tradition. His later success wasn't, however, simply a matter of perseverance during a bad stretch for the field of jazz vocals. Murphy never stopped growing as a singer -- he always challenged himself in his material, his projects, and his performances throughout the 20-year span covered on this 1972-1991 compilation, the best document of him as a jazz singer. The opener, "I'm Glad There Is You," shows he could nail a (relatively) straight reading of a standard; his lyrical version of Freddie Hubbard's "Red Clay" proved he was an excellent adapter of his own lyrics to an instrumental melody; his suitably bounding, flowing performance on Jobim's "Waters of March (Aguas de Março)" has to be termed definitive; and his own composition "Ding Walls" found Murphy still hip to the jive as Britain's acid jazz scene dawned in the late '80s (a scene, populated by musicians two generations younger than him, he had been welcomed to before he even knew of its existence). The material is culled from his best records of the era -- with several titles each from 1975's Mark Murphy Sings, 1978's Stolen Moments, and 1981's Bop for Kerouac -- and best of all, there's plenty of it. A few pedants might wish for a chronological order to this material, but the compilation and pacing is stellar nevertheless.

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