Mark Murphy —
Rah ... LP Riverside, 1961. Near Mint- ...
Great early work by Mark Murphy – a set that's different than the cool breeziness of his 70s work, and done with an approach that's a lot hipper than most of his 60s contemporaries! Ernie Wilkins handles the arrangements, and there's a rollicking soul jazz groove here that's a bit unusual for Murphy – but which makes for a nice change from his earlier work for Decca or Capitol. As with most of Mark's records, the tunes are very well-chosen, and go way past the obvious – a set list that includes Fran Landesman's great "Stoppin The Clock", Jon Hendricks' lyrics to Horace Silver's "Doodlin", Annie Ross' famous vocalese version of "Twisted", and hip takes on jazz standards "Green Dolphin Street", "Milestones", and "Out Of This World". LP, Vinyl record album
One of his best for Muse, with a beautiful set of jazzy vocal grooves that includes his reading of "Stolen Moments" (later made famous by United Future Organization), plus "D.C. Farewell" and an excellent version of "Waters of March". Warm and breezy, with that perfect style that Murphy had for a brief while in the 70s – and which has continued to be such a huge influence on groovers today! LP, Vinyl record album
Given what a freewheeling, open-minded, and lyrical jazz singer Mark Murphy is, it's hard to imagine him really loving "the blues" – and fortunately, most of that love is extended in the title, because the album itself is less of the blues effort that you might think. True, the tracks are numbers that often have "blues" in the title – but the arrangements are by Al Cohn, and have a swinging approach that's in keeping with Murphy's other early 50s work. Titles include "Blues You're The Mother Of Sin", "Blues In My Heart", "Fiesta In Blue", "That's How I Love The Blues", "Blues In The Night", and a reading of "Senor Blues" that's worth the price of the record alone! LP, Vinyl record album
(Japanese pressing. Cover has a small name in pen on front.)
One of Mark Murphy's first albums – quite different than his later work, but swinging and jazzy as he could always be! Ralph Burns arranged the set, and even at this early point, you can hear what a talent Murphy is – singing with a confident swing that wasn't often the case for male singers of the time – balancing carefully between older jazz modes, without falling into cocktail cliches that could often trap other vocalists. Titles include "Elmer's Tune", "Pick Yourself Up", "Let Yourself Go", "Ridin' High", and "Crazy Rhythm". LP, Vinyl record album
A brilliant live set by Betty Carter, and a perfect summation of the underground soul that was bubbling through her work in the 70s! The Betty you hear here is way different than the Betty of earlier years – freer, more soulful, working in an unfettered setting that lets her take off on piano and vocals, working in a mode that's got a modal vibrant quality unmatched by most other singers! The album includes a great version of "Open The Door", a 25 minute reading of the landmark tune "Sounds", and the tracks "Tight", "Fake", "So", "My Favorite Things", "Caribbean Sun", and "I Think I Got It Now". LP, Vinyl record album
(Cover has some wear and a mark from sticker removal.)
Great live set recorded by Jon Hendricks during a time when he was making his home in the artsy community of Sausalito, on the San Francisco Bay. The set's recorded at the town's tiny Trident club, where Jon played for a while on a very regular basis, and the feeling is very relaxed and comfortable. The band includes players who would go on to make more of a name for themselves in the 70's – like Noel Jewkes and Flip Nunez – but the real focus is on Jon's rich, raspy, always-swingin' vocals. There's a lot of nice uptempo tracks that demonstrate his agile vocalese skills, including readings of "Yeh Yeh", "Watermelon Man", "Gimme That Wine", "Stockholm Sweetnin", and "Jon's Mumbles". LP, Vinyl record album
(Gold label promo. Side 1 has a mark that clicks a bit on track three. Cover has ring & edge wear, a bit of splitting on the bottom seam, and some stains and promo stamps on the back.)
(Side 1 has a mark that clicks a bit on track five. Cover has light wear, a partially split bottom seam, some pen, a spot of tape on the spine, and a promo stamp on the back. Label has a sticker.)
Cleo Laine & Annie Ross —
Facade ... LP Fontana (UK), 1967. Very Good+ ...
An unusual vocal project – based on the writings of Edith Sitwell, with music composed by William Walton – but performed with a jazzy style by a small combo that includes John Dankworth on alto, Bernard Izen on trumpet, and Ray Swinfield on flute! LP, Vinyl record album
(Cover has a mark from an old sticker, a small stain on the back, and a small mark.)
A fantastic album by this obscure vocalist – one of the first in a great run of work recorded by Sue Raney on the west coast scene! This session has Sue sounding a fair bit like Chris Connor or June Christy – often a bit icy, and sometimes sweet – but without some of the fuller modes on her later records. The album's got surprisingly understated arrangements by Billy May that have a nice jazzy edge – and Raney's vocals have all the wistful qualities you might guess from the title and cover! Titles include "A Blossom Fell", "Impossible", "I Get The Blues When It Rains", "My Prayer", "Wanna Laugh?", "Rain On The Roof", and "Blue Tears". LP, Vinyl record album
(Rainbow label mono pressing. Cover has some wear, masking tape on the top and bottom seams, some splitting on the spine, a peeled mark and sticker remnants on the front, and some stains on the back.)
Jimmy Witherspoon with Jack McDuff —
Blues Is Now ... LP Verve, 1967. Very Good- Gatefold ...
A much groovier set than usual from vocalist Jimmy Witherspoon – thanks to some great backing from the combo of organist Jack McDuff, which also includes guitar from a young Melvin Sparks! The sound here is definitely in keeping with the "blues" in the title – but McDuff's instrumentation brings in a fair bit of jazz as well – and really opens up the tunes with some of the playful rhythms he was laying down on his own records for Prestige in the 60s. And as usual, Witherspoon proves that he's every bit as much a jazz singer as a blues vocalist – by changing things up nicely on most of the tunes, and bringing in inflections that go way past a typical bluesy singing mode. The whole thing's nice and lively, with a really unique feel that's all its own – and titles include "Sweet Slumber", "My Money's Long This Morning Baby", "Part Time Woman", "Late One Evening", "SK Blues", and "Past Forty Blues". LP, Vinyl record album
(Blue label pressing. Side 1 has a mark that clicks a bit on track four. Cover has light wear, some seam splitting, some sticker residue in one corner, and stains and pencil inside the gatefold. Labels have some sticker residue and marker.)
A set that brings together the 2 volumes released separately. Among the 30 plus songs are "All Through The Night", "Anything Goes", "I Get A Kick Out Of You", "I Love Paris", "Easy To Love", "You're The Top", "Let's Do It", "Begin The Beguine", "Love For Sale", "It's Delovely", "Night And Day", and "I've Got You Under My Skin". LP, Vinyl record album
(70s pressing. Vinyl has a mark that clicks a bit on "It's Delovely".)