Greg Murphy | Blues for Miles

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Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz Jazz: Latin Jazz Moods: Type: Improvisational
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Blues for Miles

by Greg Murphy

An explosive lyrical adventure in modern music - original compositions, jazz standards and freedom! Featuring: Raphael Cruz - percussion, Kush Abadey - drums, Josh Evans - trumpet, Eric Wheeler - bass, Tom DiCarlo - bass, Ben Solomon - tenor sax
Genre: Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz
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  Song Share Time Download
1. My Shining Hour
5:32 $0.99
2. Easy to Remember
4:43 $0.99
3. Half-Fulton
7:06 $0.99
4. Nancy's Fantasy
5:32 $0.99
5. Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?
5:21 $0.99
6. Blues for Miles
8:25 $0.99
7. Earthlings
3:12 $0.99
8. Split Second
0:09 $0.99
9. Hat Trick
6:51 $0.99
10. For My Mom
4:58 $0.99
11. Blues for Miles (Alternate Take)
3:28 $0.99
12. Blue in Green
4:28 $0.99
13. Free Han Solo
4:15 $0.99
14. Free Ur Mind
7:50 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Greg Murphy: Blues for Miles

...Miles Davis (May 26, 1926 – September 28, 1991) is one artist whose oeuvre has touched many people deeply and personally. His many fans can all agree on his greatness yet the reason why varies for each person. Blues for Miles by pianist/arranger Greg Murphy offers up evidence of this personal/universal effect.

The album is no mere stylistic homage but a way in which to show some of what Miles meant to him not via the work’s structure but rather in mood and spirit. The album’s program is a mix of standards and originals which along with the band’s interplay keeps things interesting.

“My Shinning Hour” starts the album off. This standard from the pen of perennial Great American Songbook scribes Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer was originally for the film “The Sky’s the Limit” (1943) but is probably best known to jazz fans through the John Coltrane cover. John Coltrane’s version from the album Coltrane Jazz (Atlantic Records 1961) marked the first appearance on record of his classic quartet.

Greg eschews any comparison by injecting heavy Bossa Nova inflections. With a fat mid-range tone the trumpet maintains the familiar melody while all around him dances percussion and drum flourishes. The perfect foil which meshes with the horn while not becoming merely a twin is the low end bass groove. The piano breaks are lyrical and like the rest of the song, fun. Punctuated with whistle and percussion breaks one finds themselves suddenly thinking of carnival and the softly murmured innuendos of the sun.

“Brother Can You Spare a Dime?” is taken as a solo piece. It shows the contemplative aspect of Greg’s playing. Written by E.Y Harburg and Jay Gorney (1930) for the musical Americana it was in the vernacular of the depression, portraying the broken possibilities of the once seemingly limitless potential for every American. Despite the Republican right thinking it “Red” propaganda and trying to have it cut from the show it remained and continued on well after the depression in the lexicon of great standards.

Greg is no stranger to this song having previously (2012) recorded it as the theme song for the HBO documentary “Redemption”. We all get down but not every musician can play the blues. Greg displays an authenticity not in any specific blues-based structure but in an organic soulfulness.

There is a power to the performance deriving from simplicity which is not meant in a pejorative way. Any attempt at doing a deconstruction or re-imagining are avoided in favor of a straight reading which allows the song’s inherent power and Greg’s voice to come through unadorned and without any distraction. Tinged with melancholy but bearable on account of its beauty, it is a rainy day with all the leaves of the trees dripping silvered jewels.

“Hat Trick” is another original. It is free jazz not in the genre sense but in the band allowing different components from several genres to meld without concern of adhering to any specific formula. The band on this album is comprised of musicians with whom Greg has a history, having played together in various incarnations. This song has a slow burn, offering up permanent evidence of how much fun the ensemble would be in a live situation.

The start of the song finds the bass releasing deep drone like pulses. The brush and cymbal work on the percussion is the whispered encouragement to do something interesting and in nocturnal colors. When the piano initially enters, softly, it sounds almost akin to an older model keyboard so valued by today’s turnbulists. Soon though it is metamorphosis into grander, fractured ivories playing in elliptical patterns which mirror that of the bass, punctuating its own pattern with rapid asides.

The trumpet and tenor saxophone are two long things which entangle even as the stretch out, wisps of smoke, coils of rope or deeply abstracted thoughts. As the piece continues on the front line of horns separate with the trumpet then tenor taking solos which would not sound out of place on the Impulse label of the 1960’s.

A dramatic cohesiveness is created not because all the musicians play in unison but because each of the smaller patterns executed within the piece bolster the others.

This album is no mere tribute nor does it seek to concern itself with offering up the next artistic evolutionary step. Instead it displays what inspirations one generation of artists gleamed from another. An informal meditation on the enjoyment from works that we find ourselves constantly going back to, something which we can all relate to in our own way.

Maxwell Chandler


GREG MURPHY [p], who worked for many years with Rashied Ali, has released BLUES FOR MILES [Jazzintensity Records 001]. Accompanying him, in various combinations, are; Kush Abadey [dms], Eric Wheeler [b], Tom DiCarlo [b], Josh Evans [tpt], Ben Solomon [ts] and Raphael Cruz [perc]. Musically the reference to Miles is lost on me, other than 2 of the 14 titles are “Blues for Miles” [two takes], in fact if there is anything suggested it’s Ben Solomon’s pleasurable Coltrane inspired playing. The program here ranges from, let’s call it inside, on tunes like “Easy To Remember”, “Brother, and Can You Spare A Dime” to some very effective free playing on “Free Ur Mind” and “Free Han Solo”. Murphy is credible in all styles and moods but it is on the uptempos and later styles where he seems most mentally energized and inspired. A strong ensemble, a bit derivative, but believable when turned loose.

Bob Rusch
Cadence Magazine April 2015 Edition

Your version of "Brother Can You Spare a Dime" is just wonderful. Slow and thoughtful and sad and angry. Respectful of the melody. Aware of the lyrics and what they mean. Just beautiful. Thanks. I've listened to it several times and look forward to many more, and will forward it to friends. - Dan North

Nice and tight with a constant fluidity of continuity, intercommunication, musical awareness, harmonic, melodic and rhythmic expression and like you are all simply and thoroughly enjoying playing the music together. - Noel Kendrick

A really different album from pianist Greg Murphy – an artist we know mostly for his work with Rashied Ali during his later years! This set's not what you might expect from the Blues For Miles title – hardly a recap of Davis' music, or his ideas at all – and instead comes across as a warmly lyrical session that shows a whole new side of Murphy's talents! The pianist is working here with a lineup that also includes Josh Evans on trumpet and Ben Solomon on tenor, plus some occasional percussion from Raphael Cruz next to the piano, bass, and drums – elements that brings these nice rhythmic changes to the music that are almost more Cedar Walton-like than Miles – especially given Murphy's bright, soulful lines on piano – which have an especially great way of cascading along on the album's original compositions. These are the real standouts, as Greg's a hell of a writer – and titles include "Blues For Miles", "Half Fulton", "Nancy's Fantasy", "Hat Trick", "Free Han Solo", and "Split Second". © 1996-2015, Dusty Groove, Inc.

Greg Murphy is one of the most dedicated and true talents working in music today. Still pure and dedicated to giving the light of jazz to the world. This one [ "My Shining Hour" ] brings a smile to the soul. And ends perfectly. Thank you! - Keely Stahl

File Greg under "Pianists Deserving Wider Recognition" - this man is a veteran and an exceptionally powerful player... – Spike Wilner, Smalls Jazz Club



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