Mark Murphy was a jazz vocalist who was categorized as “Post-Bop,” but it seems unfair to pigeon-hole him that way. As John Bush wrote in the All Music Guide to Jazz, Murphy had a “penchant for trawling the entirety of the 20th century popular/jazz repertory for songs ranging from the slightly overdone to the downright forgotten.”
Murphy was picked up by Capitol in the 1950s, and they tried to forge him into a teen idol, but it didn’t stick, and Murphy gravitated toward a style (or styles) more natural to him. Along the way, he partnered with a long list of top-notch musicians: Bill Evans, Clark Terry and Al Cohn, to name a few.
Murphy (March 14, 1932-October 22, 2015) left for Europe in the late 1960s, when rock and pop had overtaken the airwaves, but he returned to the US in 1972. Recording for the Muse label, he put out close to an album a year, including Nat King Cole Songbook, Vol. 1 and 2; Bop for Kerouac and Stolen Moments. The title track of this last Muse album featured lyrics written by Murphy.
During his career Murphy received six Grammy award nominations for Best Jazz Vocal Performance.