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Mark Murphy: Shadows

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Throughout Mark Murphy’s remarkably multifaceted recording career, spanning seven decades, there have been only a couple of gaps, the longest stretching from 1991 to 1996. Now, from the tail end of that fallow period come these eight tracks, recorded in Slovenia with a quartet of European musicians-saxophonist/flutist Karlheinz Miklin, pianist Fritz Pauer, bassist Ewald Oberleitner and drummer Dusan Novakov-and at last released by TCB (“The Montreux Jazz Label”).

In recent years, Murphy’s vocals have grown steadily feebler, only the slightest traces of his once-glorious robustness and imagination still evident. But back in June of ’96, Murphy just entering his mid-60s, his vigor and improvisational brilliance were still in peak form. Just two of the tracks, both then-new to Murphy’s vast repertoire, are covers: a scat-swirled “If I Should Lose You” and a “Lilac Wine” that gloriously weds Murphy’s beat-generation vibe to emboldened inebriation.

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