Lyle Murphy: West Coast Tonal - JazzWax

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December 11, 2009

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Jason Crane | The Jazz Session

Not the topic of your essay, but man I love me some Curtis Counce. Thanks for hipping me to yet another person I'd never heard of.

Jason Crane | The Jazz Session

The "person I'd never heard of" being Lyle Murphy, not Curtis.

And no, I can't imagine who'd be interested in me making that clear, either.

John P. Cooper

Spud! Everyone called him "Spud". I didn't know who this "Lyle Murphy" was until I got into the article.

During the last years of his life, he would show up at the Derby in Hollywood to hear Mora's Modern Rhythmists. This old gent would be out late at night b/c the band didn't hit until 9 pm and they played til midnight and Spud was often there through all three sets. Always in a good mood, joking around, talking to admirers and friends. He would introduce me to people as "my bodyguard", yet he always seemed to have an attractive girl in tow.

Dean knew him very well and was always playing his charts.

Hans C. Doerrscheidt

Another very interesting instance of Spud Murphy's arranging in the mid-50s can be found on the very rare album, "Music for This Swinging Age", under the nominal leadership of Bill Hitz.

Here's a write-up from Billboard, 9 Feb 57 (curiously, under "New Classical Albums", 2nd column to the right, bottom entry):
http://books.google.com/books?id=TCAEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA28&dq=bill+hitz+music+for+this+swinging+age&cd=2#v=onepage&q=&f=false

I don't agree with the generally just lukewarm review, but the praise of Buddy Collette's tenor solos is right on the mark.

Hans C. Doerrscheidt

Oops, my bad, it's under Jazz Albums alright, I just didn't get the layout at first sight.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.
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