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December 1997

Mark Murphy
Song For The Geese
RCA/Victor

Song For The Geese is the quintessential recording of an extraordinary singer and lyricist. On his first recording for a major label in three decades, Murphy's vibrant vocals are vitalized by inventive, energized arrangements. In addition to his Seattle based trio (pianist Marc Seales, bassist Doug Miller and drummer John Bishop),percussionist Larry Bouleau and the burning alto player Rick Mandyke, Murphy is backed by Full Voice, a vocal trio that recalls The Double Six of Paris.

The repertoire runs the gamut from Turrentine's "Sugar" to Johnson's "Lament." Also notable, Murphy's superb scatting on "Baltimore Oriole," which brings to mind Ella Fitzgerald's opinion that "Mark Murphy is my equal."

The 65-year-old cool cat of vocalese, indisputably the hippest hip male singer on the scene today, has reached a lofty creative plateau here, not just performing but living each song. Murphy's paid his dues and now he's reaching full vocal maturity, his art imbued with ingenious musicianship, and inventive phrasing bolstered by his range, intonation, diction, and sunny, appealing sound.

And to think that this hipster was "discovered" by Sammy Davis, Jr.!

Originally published in December 1997
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