Greater Buffalo's love affair with Mark Murphy lasted nearly five decades. He is revered amongst many here. We share in memorable performances in grand settings and small setting, such as in the quaint St. Georges Table. Mark Murphy left an indelible mark on the Greater Buffalo jazz scene that will never be forgotten.
On March 14, we celebrate the birthday of Mark Murphy. Below is information on a special memorial concert celebration taking place in New York City to honor and pay tribute to one of the greatest pioneers of jazz vocals. What follows is information from the organizers of the event, which includes background and comments from people who knew Mark Murphy:
Mark Howe Murphy
(March 14, 1932 – October 22, 2015)
Memorial Concert Celebration:
Monday, March 14, 2016
Reception at 6:00 pm; Concert at 7:00 pm
at the Sanctuary at
St. Peter’s Church, New York City
619 Lexington Avenue at 54th Street
New York, NY 10022
212 935 2200
The life, career and legacy of the late Mark Murphy, whom the Washington Post described as “a daringly original jazz singer whose unchained improvisational style made him a cult favorite and a powerful influence on a generation of younger performers,” will be celebrated with music and reminiscences on Monday, March 14, 2016 at St Peter’s Church in Manhattan.
Performers and speakers scheduled to appear include Itamar Borochov, Michael Bourne, Alan Broadbent, Daniel Čačija, Jay Clayton, Roz Corral, Carol Fredette, Kurt Elling, Spiros Exaras, Will Friedwald, Giacomo Gates, James Gavin, The Hanky Panky Trio (Alex Minasian, Brandi Disterheft, Steve Williams), Sheila Jordan, Nancy Kelly, Kate Murphy, Mark Edmund Murphy, Francesco Pini, Annie Ross, The Royal Bopsters (London, Meader, Pramuk, and Ross), Sean Smith, Tessa Souter, Ronny Whyte plus special guests.
Murphy, who passed away October 22, 2015, was a six-time Grammy nominee who enjoyed a prolific 40-year recording career, with over forty releases in his name. His original lyrics to 'Stolen Moments,' 'Red Clay' and more are known the world over. His innovative projects range from the work of Nat 'King' Cole to Jack Kerouac to Ivan Lins and Eddie Jefferson. Stereo Review dubbed Mark 'one of the major artists of our age.' 'For decades the question 'What exactly is a jazz singer' 'has had two easy answers, Betty Carter and Mark Murphy.' wrote the New York Post. 'He was arguably the best male jazz singer in the business,' declared Rex Reed.
The event is co-produced by Ari Silverstein, a New York impresario and founder of NYCJazzTour.com, and Jean-Pierre Leduc, founder of Lunched Management & Booking, and Murphy’s last manager. “We wanted to make Mark’s first birthday since his passing a memorable one, an evening worthy of the man himself,” said co-producer Silverstein. “There is a distinct line between those considered artists and those who are considered innovators. Mark was the latter, pushing boundaries and the standards for the sub-genres of jazz, for example, his inclusion of poetry, book readings, highly original scat solos or his own lyrics. Everything Mark touched he truly made his own.”
Leduc observed that “while Mark was underappreciated by the music business at large, and the general public too, for that matter, every astute singer idolized this giant and was regularly amazed by his artistry on recordings and his magnetism and charisma on stage. In his later years, this gift was undiminished, as countless dazzled audiences will attest.” Leduc added that he expects the event to be cathartic, too, as it will be “the first opportunity to collectively and publicly grieve Mark’s passing.”
Living legend and jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan adds, “Mark Murphy was like a kid brother to me. I loved his caring, his sense of humor and his wonderful singing. His music will live forever.” Wendy Oxenhorn, director of the Jazz Foundation of America, was also a dear friend, saying "Mark Murphy is and will always be on a planet of his own.
Unreachable. Few flew as high. His ballads were untouchable. Mark was a bird alone, like Abbey, Chet and Jimmy Scott.” Oxenhorn adds, “Mark was one of the greatest abstract expressionist vocalists that ever roamed the earth. This Celebration of Life will give us the chance to send him off with our gratitude for the freedom, the grace, the love and the space he gave us to fly with him.”
The producers acknowledge the invaluable assistance of The Jazz Foundation Of America.
Practical information about the event:
Memorial Concert Celebrating the Life and Music of Mark Howe Murphy March 14, 2016.
Reception at 6:00 pm; Concert at 7:00 pm
The Sanctuary at St. Peter’s Church, 619 Lexington Avenue (Entrance on E 54th St.) Admission is free; space is limited; seating is first come, first serve.
Mark Murphy’s NY Times obituary: https://nyti.ms/20E3cTD
Mark Murphy’s Washington Post obituary: https://wapo.st/1QEC4JP
Mark Murphy in conversation with WBGO’s Michael Bourne: https://bit.ly/qwRRE7
Mark Murphy performing on Marian McPartland’s “Piano Jazz”: https://bit.ly/1MQBLPX