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Vocalist Mark Murphy Dies at 83

A consummate hipster who took risks in his singing

Mark Murphy
Jazz vocalist Mark Murphy
Mark Murphy in 1975

Vocalist Mark Murphy, a six-time Grammy nominee known for his improvisational skill and ability to interpret a wide range of song material, died yesterday, October 22, at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, N.J. The cause of death was not reported, but it is known that Murphy, who was 83, had been ill for some time.

Murphy, who released more than four dozen albums in a career that spanned nearly six decades, took chances in his singing that often led to him being described as hip or eccentric. In a 2012 JazzTimes feature, singer Kurt Elling described Murphy’s style as “a very distinct and powerful spice, and not everyone’s ready for that.” Another singer, Sheila Jordan, said in the same piece, “He undresses himself emotionally” in his work.

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