Vocalist Mark Murphy was a consummate improviser, who never sang a song the same way twice. On ‘Wild and Free’ we encounter him at a historic engagement at the Keystone Korner, which was his only performance in the club. Familiar Murphy favourites are here along with a few surprises with Mark’s voice alternately thundering and whispering through the inspired setlist.
When Mark Murphy died in October 2015, the obituaries claimed that he had been almost the last of his kind. Murphy, it was said, was a man who embodied the spirit of postwar bohemia, the ‘On The Road’ Kerouac generation who fought against the straight life of prosperity and numb consumerism they saw all around them.
With a catalogue of more than 40 albums under his own name as well as numerous collaborations, Mark Murphy resisted orthodoxy. He could very likely have enjoyed a successful mainstream career had he remained a crooner in the vein of Mel Tormé or Jack Jones, but he had greater ambition to carry the jazz vocal flame.