Mark Murphy – Rah (1961/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 37:38 minutes | 383 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © RevOla
Mark Howe Murphy was an American jazz singer based at various times in New York City, Los Angeles, London, and San Francisco. He recorded 47 albums under his own name during his lifetime and was principally known for his innovative vocal improvisations. “Rah” is his 1961 studio album, arranged by Ernie Wilkins. This was Murphy’s first Riverside Records album, and he is supported by an orchestra including such luminaries as Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly, Urbie Green, Ernie Royal, Clark Terry and Jimmy Cobb.
This early-’60s effort, not Murphy’s first but still pretty early in his discographical canon, has worn well over the years. Credit of course can be lavished on the vocalist himself, who didn’t sound like this 20 years later, although every stage of his developing vocal chops has been interesting to be sure. On tracks such as “Green Dolphin Street,” he dives into the rhythm with the relaxed calm of an expert. And when the result can be the harebrained complexity of “Twisted” or the funky timing of “Doodlin’,” the wisdom of letting the experts handle the hard work has never been more apparent. But this is not just Murphy’s display. The undersung Ernie Wilkins was working behind the scenes on combo and orchestra arrangements and came up with some effective and fun charts, expertly matching horn soloists such as the contrasting trumpeters Clark Terry and Blue Mitchell or embellishing the medium tones of Murphy’s voice with the striking tone of Melba Liston’s trombone. And what a rhythm section! This is really all Murphy has ever needed to get off, or at least that’s what he wants his fans to believe, and in this case listeners have either Wynton Kelly or Bill Evans on piano. Either one is fine; both have been road-tested by maestro Miles Davis. Likewise for drummer Jimmy Cobb, whose cymbal flair keeps the time going on “Stopping the Clock” and whose tom-tom caresses and snare drum flutter literally do launch “Out of This World.” This fine album is the result of several different recording sessions that clicked perfectly, produced and edited with taste by Orrin Keepnews.
01 – Angel Eyes
02 – On Green Dolphin Street
03 – Stoppin’ The Clock
04 – Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most
05 – No Tears For Me
06 – Out Of This World
07 – Milestones
08 – My Favorite Things
09 – Doodlin’
10 – Li’l Darlin’
11 – Twisted
Produced by Orrin Keepnews. Engineered by Ray Fowler.
Recorded in September & October, 1961 at Plaza Sound Studios, NYC.
Mark Murphy – vocals
Clark Terry, Blue Mitchell, Joe Wilder, Bernie Glow or Ernie Royal – trumpets
Jimmy Cleveland, Urbie Green or Melba Liston – trombones
Wynton Kelly or Bill Evans – piano
Barry Galbraith or Sam Herman – guitar
George Duvivier or Art Davis – double bass
Jimmy Cobb – drums
Ray Barretto – congas
Ernie Wilkins – arranger, conductor