Crooner in Swell Company

By Massarik, Jack | The Evening Standard (London, England), February 28, 2001 | Go to article overview

Crooner in Swell Company


Massarik, Jack, The Evening Standard (London, England)


Byline: JACK MASSARIK

MARK MURPHY ** Pizza on the Park

A PIONEER modern-jazz singer of indeterminate age (his debut album, Rah, came out in the Sixties), Mark Murphy is weathering well. His voice, once light and unconvincing on the dramatic out-choruses, has broadened and deepened with the years. It now swells into a fair approximation of a vintage showbiz crooner's baritone. Not Crosby, Sinatra or Bennett, perhaps, but not a million miles from Andy Williams or Jack Jones.

That crimson T-shirt he wore last night with a double-breasted navy suit, though, might have worried Williams fans. A danger sign, it served notice that while he might occasionally sound like a vibrato-laden crooner, his creative jazzman's heart would never actually allow him to phrase like one.

Sure enough, the mellifluous moments didn't linger very long. A blink later he was swooping into falsetto territory, painting the microphone around his face at various angles and distances to vary his tone and volume.

Bothered slightly by a cold ("I caught this in Pittsburgh") but relaxed and informative in front of a friendly crowd, he tested pianist Peter Churchill's backing quartet with a strong programme. …

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