• Mark Murphy with WBGO's Michael Bourne

    October 23, 2015. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive, RIP


    Mark Murphy passed on Thursday October 22nd, 2015, at age 83.  A singer’s singer.  A singer’s teacher.  You can hear in countless singers around the scene (and around the world) the vocal DNA of Mark.  “Stand next to the drummer,” Mark once told me, was the first and most important lesson.

    Mark Murphy was my favorite jazz singer.  And (sez me) was the definitive jazz singer.  Always improvising.  Always imaginative.  Colorful with a melody.   Poetic with a lyric, even when scatting.  And always swinging.

    I’d heard the Riverside album Rah when new in the 60’s, when I was first getting into jazz, but what really pulled my ears and shook my head was Mark singing “I’m Glad There Is You,” first song on the 1972 Muse album Bridging a Gap. Mark sings the verse, quietly, tenderly, with only the guitar, floating freely. Then some chords from the keys enter with a pulse, and Mark sings into and around the pulse — until, like Icarus flying skyward, Mark swirls up to the sun, to the climax of the verse, and with a cry at the top of his voice, whoooom! Mark swoops suddenly down and deep into the song.  “In this world … of ordinary people … extraordinary people … I’m glad there is,” sings Mark, lovingly caressing “you…”

    I’m glad there is, on all the records, in all the memories, Mark Murphy …

    Here’s an interview, my last with Mark, broadcast on WBGO July 18, 2011, just before a gig at Birdland:

  • Pianist Fred Hersch on Singers Unlimited with Michael Bourne

    October 21, 2015. Posted by Josh Landes.

    The multiple-Grammy nominated pianist and composer Fred Hersch is as prolific as he is celebrated. The musician checks in with Michael Bourne about staying sane, artistic theft, and his long career.


  • Drummer Will Calhoun With Sheila Anderson

    October 20, 2015. Posted by Josh Landes.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    Will Calhoun has electrified audiences with his rock group Living Colour, served as bandleader in his own jazz ensembles, and played sideman to artists like Pharoah Sanders, BB King, Dr. John, and others. Calhoun sat down with WBGO's Sheila Anderson to talk shop and share his own music picks.