Mar 24, 2018
Mark Murphy’s latest CD, Pocketful of Rainbows, continues a trend of merging the singer-songwriter sense with jazz sensibilities. On one level, there is Mark’s smooth voice and lilting acoustic guitar performing songs written by Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan and Hank Williams. On another there is the richness and subtlety that the finest jazz musicians – like drummer Jeff Ballard, keyboardist Jon Cowherd, and electric guitarist Gilad Hekselman - bring to the arrangements and execution of the tunes. Add guest shots by bassist Larry Grenadier, saxophonist Dayna Stephens and violinist Sara Caswell and you have a CD that is full of depth and richness.
It might be easy to compare Mark’s approach to that of great Brazilian singers like João Gilberto or crossover artist Michael Franks, but that would be too easy. Yes, there are echoes of their sound on his vocals, but there is more happening here. Whether it’s that New Orleans flavor that is brought to “Hey Good Lookin’” or the wonderful reading of the title track, a little known Elvis Presley recording, Murphy is intent in bringing his own special flavor to the material.
Murphy is an educator as well as musician, and his music school in South Orange, New Jersey is one of the largest music schools in the Greater New York area, with almost forty music teachers. Appropriately enough, many genres of music are taught, as Mark Murphy shares his wide ranging talents with his students.
Podcast 618 is my conversation with Mark, and features musical selections from Pocketful of Rainbows, including “Hey Good Lookin’,” the title track, and the Murphy original “Conversations.”