By Carlo Wolff | Published January 2017
Easy listening in the best sense, vocalist-guitarist Mark Murphy’s sophisticated and catchy Slip Away blends expert jazz with imaginative updates of pop classics and distinctive Murphy originals.
Murphy’s voice is slight but penetrating, evoking an even mellower Michael Franks or Kenny Rankin, similarly light-touched vocalists whose sensibility Murphy also shares. In such vocal showcases as the tantalizing title track and the Jimmy Webb-like “Bobcaygeon”—both originals—Murphy paints vivid pictures of a airs on the verge of either consummation or dissipation. These are come-hither songs, indeed, pretty and melodic.
“Conversations,” meanwhile, sparkles with Jon Cowherd’s Wurlitzer and Fender Rhodes, Jeff Ballard’s drums and Chris Morrissey’s bass. “All Things Turn” is simply a beautiful love song, and “Kiwi,” the fleet, brooding instrumental that caps the disc, proves Murphy is a master of mood and atmosphere.
Fans of intimate, heartfelt jazz and folk music will find themselves returning to Slip Away. It’s an assured debut by a gifted musician with stories to tell.
Slip Away: Dayton, Ohio–1903; Conversations; Tell Me Why; Boots Of Spanish Leather; Slip Away; All Things Turn; Waterfalls; Bobcaygeon; Kiwi. (46:50)
Personnel: Mark Murphy, vocals, guitar; Jeff Ballard, drums; Jon Cowherd, piano, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer; Gilad Hekselman, guitar; Chris Morrissey, bass; Maria Neckam, vocals; Dayna Stephens, tenor saxophone, EWI.