Mark Murphy: Midnight Mood

German recording with the Clarke-Boland band has the singular Murphy leaving no doubt of his credentials as a jazz singer


When the music on this disc first saw the light of day on the German SABA label, the sleeve note suggested that Mark Murphy should be regarded as an underrated singer – an observation possibly still valid today.

It was never in doubt from the earliest of days that Murphy ticked all the boxes when it came to being a true “jazz singer” and until the end of his life he maintained all the credentials we expect from those we call such.

This session, recorded with members of the Boland/Clarke big band, including its leaders, may not be the singer’s most adventurous outing but it does display all the elements of his craft, commencing with his unaccompanied opening to Ellington’s Jump For Joy where he unfurls the flexibility of his vocal chords.

Elsewhere he swings, bends notes and plays around with the various melodies without ever losing track of the lyric or taking too many liberties with the composer’s intentions. His skills interpreting a ballad are being tested – the timing on I Get Along Without You Very Well is totally apposite and the sympathetic approach to the Kurt Weill/Ira Gershwin classic My Ship is particularly rewarding.

The solos come from the “taking care of business” category, although given the pedigree of the supporting musicians involved, the business is high end.

Jump For Joy; I Don’t Want Nothin’; Why And How; Alone Together; You Fascinate Me So; Hopeless; Sconsolato; My Ship: Just Give Me Time; I Get Along Without You Very Well (36.53)
Murphy (v); Jimmy Deuchar (t); Ake Persson (tb); Derek Humble (as); Ronnie Scott (ts); Sahib Shihab (bar); Francy Boland (p); Jimmy Woode (b); Kenny Clarke (d). Cologne, 18 December 1967.
MPS 0212419MSW