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Mark Murphy

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Mark Murphy (March 14, 1932) is an American jazz singer based in New York. He is most noted for his definitive and unique vocalese and vocal improvisations with both melody and lyrics. He is the recipient of the 1996, 1997, 2000, and 2001 Down Beat magazine readers jazz poll for Best Male Vocalist of the Year and is also the recipient of six Grammy award nominations for Best Vocal Jazz Performance. He is also famous for his original lyrics to the jazz classics “Stolen Moments” and “Red Clay”. From his Meet Mark Murphy (1956) to Never Let Me Go (2010), Murphy continues attracting audiences and admirers up to the present day.

Born in Syracuse, New York in 1932, Murphy was raised in a musical family, his parents having met as members of the local Methodist Church choir. He grew up in the nearby small town of Fulton, New York[2] where his grandmother and then his aunt were the church organists. Opera was also popular in the Murphy home. He started piano lessons at the age of seven.
Murphy joined his brother’s jazz dance band as the singer when a teenager, citing influences from Nat “King” Cole, June Christy, Anita O’Day, and Ella Fitzgerald. Jazz piano legend Art Tatum was also an influence.
Murphy graduated from Syracuse University in 1953, majoring in Music and Drama. University life included performing on campus and also in a club – piano and singing.
In 1954, Murphy moved to New York City, working part-time as an actor and singer. He appeared in productions for the Gilbert and Sullivan Light Opera Company and a musical version for TV of Casey at the Bat. Also, he twice took second place at the Apollo Theatre amateur contests.

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