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Mark Murphy: Love Is What Stays

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Musically speaking, Mark Murphy couldn’t misstep in a minefield on a moonless night. Throughout his half-century progression from startlingly innovative hipster to sage elder statesman, Murphy has never stumbled, never faltered and never failed to continuously raise the bar for every jazz vocalist in the business.

In recent years though, Murphy has allowed age to catch up with him-not in performance quality (the vocal vigor and elasticity of his youth may be gone, but the weather-beaten weariness that now replaces them is just as artful and enticing) but in terms of mood and shadings. His previous Verve release, 2005’s Once to Every Heart, was filled with the sort of backward-glancing, contemplative tunes that signal the winding down of a life well-lived, the nearing end of a long road along which every turn, bump and detour has been heartily embraced.

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