Sunday, August 9, 2009
On July 31 and August 1 Mark Murphy had a gig which proved why the legendary vocalist's club appearances are still such exciting events. Although he is now 77 years old, his voice is still strong and surprisingly flexible, his phrasing, scatting and sense of swing are impeccable, and his sense of drama is masterful. The singer was accompanied by some of the finest musicians around today: Vinny Valentino on guitar, Jon Cowherd on piano, Boris Koslov on bass, and Willard Dyson on drums. (Personal note: when Mark sang "My One and Only Love," his performance was so profound it moved me to tears.)
The Kitano was sold out for two nights and a majority of the audience members were other singers, including ones who had participated in workshops which Mark conducted over the years. The love for the great legend was palpable and there seemed to be a long line of admirers who wanted to convey their good wishes during breaks. Everyone agreed that we had all witnessed a true musical miracle in the fact that Mark had managed to make his performance during all four sets even more moving than any of us had expected. A perfect example of a true jazz singer who doesn't let age stand in the way of continuing to develop as an expressive and powerful artist.
To see videos from the gig, click on this link, which will take you to a You Tube channel featuring videos by various artists. Go to "see all" at the right of the page, and a brief search will lead you to performances by Mark Murphy at the Kitano.
(Photo courtesy of The Jazz Paisan)
Special Note: For a discussion of Mark Murphy's entire career, go to my post from May 17, 2009, "The Fearless Singer."