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Mark Murphy Remembered

I read about Mark Murphy's passing on Facebook the other day. I had a day job when I met Mark. I was real thirsty! My problem was I didn' t know anybody in the music business. So I learned as much as I could about the business by reading books and going to seminars and workshops. I learned the music and met musicians by "sitting in" at jazz clubs whenever I could. That's how I met Ellen Hoffman, an amazing pianist. Ellen took me by to meet Mark. He was living on Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco at the time. Mark was a real nice dude. He sat down at his upright piano and we ran down some tunes. After a while,  he said to me, "You know how to sing. You just need to sing LESS" which confused the hell out of me. But over time his advice started to make sense. Mark was a master of vocal improvisation. He was encouraging me to explore the relationship between the lyric and the melody and experiment with the various elements of my own instrument. After that visit, I went to see him perform around the Bay a few times. The most memorable was a gig he did at Kimball's East behind the SF Opera House. The place was packed! He was like a rock star! I loved to hear him scat! Man .. he could rip it up! Mark, Joe Williams, Ella and Betty Carter .. they were my favorites. Those are my memories of Mark Murphy. I look back now and realize how blessed I was to have made his acquaintance. For that I am eternally grateful. Thank you Mark ..may your soul rest in peace.

Comments Section

The jewels of any craft are never gleaned from books. They come handed down with discernment and care in the oral tradition - one on one - man to man. You are eternally blessed to have been handed pearls of wisdom from one as masterful as Mr. Murphy. You have written a beautiful and apropos homage in his honor, Victor. Respect.
Victor, what a beautiful memory you have shared! I am SO HAPPY that I was able to to introduce you to Mark! And I LOVE the comment he gave you, and how you learned how valuable that comment was! MUCH love and success to you, Victor!
 

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