Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Surprisingly the career of 50-year jazz great Mark Murphy started with one Sammy Davis Jr. In the 1930's Sammy lived in Syracuse with his uncle shinning shoes on Harrison Street while listening to music in the Penguin and Embassy Clubs. In 1953 Sammy Davis Jr was appearing at Andre's Tic Toc Club on So. Salina Street. It was during this time Davis first caught Mark Murphy performing at a jazz session  at the Ebony Club.

Murphy was born March 14, 1932 in Syracuse, but spent much of his youth in Fulton, NY He sang in the church choir and began piano lessons at age seven. Mark started singing in a local dance band and studied acting and music while attending Syracuse University. He began singing professionally at the age of 15.

After being discovered by Sammy Davis Jr he relocated to New York City appearing with the Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company. He also performed in a local amateur contest at the historic Apollo Theater.

His recording career began at age 24 with Davis's help signed with Decca Records (just before the label signed Buddy Holly). Mark soon appeared on national television performing on the "Tonight Show". His first single 'Exectly Like You" came from the Decca Records album "Meet Mark Murphy". Murphy has become a international famed jazz vocalist, recording for labels as- Capitol, Muse, Riverside, Fontana, RCA Victor, Milestone, Sonorama,  Nova, Atlantic  Phoenix,  Immedicate,  Sequel,  Audiophile,  G-Jazz, Savoy, High Tone, Verve and Jazz Prison Records in Japan, Germany, United Kingdom and the United States.

Murphy moved to England in the late 1960's where he worked as an actor while continuing to build a large European jazz audience. He returned to the United States in 1972 where he continued to release an album a year since that time. Mark continues touring the World appearing in concerts and festivals. He returned to Syracuse for Jazz Fest on June 7, 1998 and again in 2002 for the Syracuse Area Music Awards (SAMMYS) show at the Landmark Theater. Mark Murphy has been nominated for three Grammy Awards. He was voted "Best Male Jazz Vocalist of the Year" in Downbeat Magazines Readers Pole in 1996, 1997, 2000 & 2001.

Through the years Mark's discography reads-  Vinyl albums (55), 45 rpm singles (11) Cd's (30+ and counting) and a  DVD "Murphy's Mood" (comprised two separate episodes of the tv show "Ad Lib" that Mark performed in 1981) in 2009. Yes 100 recording for your listening pleasure. A true musical legend our own Mark Murphy. After living in Los Angeles and Pennsylvania for a number of years Mark relocated to Englewood, New Jersey in 2009.

Sad to report the great Mark Murphy passed away on October 22, 2015 In Edgewood, NJ.

Update- Mark Murphy will be honored by Syracuse Area Music Award's with their "Lifetime Achievement Award" on Thursday evening March 3, 2016 at the Dinosaur Bab B Que. This is the highest honor given to one in the Syracuse music community. This award will be excepted by members of Mark's family.

1 comment:

  1. A few corrections: In 2009, Mark moved from Pennsylvania to Englewood, NJ. The DVD, "Murphy's Mood" comprises two separate episodes of the tv show, "Ad Lib," on which Mark performed in 1981.