Lauded local singer-songwriter Mark Murphy performs from the SOPAC stage in a virtual concert with in-demand Jazz musicians Jon Cowherd, Larry Grenadier and Dayna Stephens.
Mark Murphy – Acoustic Guitar / Voice
Jon Cowherd – Piano / Keyboards
Larry Grenadier – Upright Bass
Dayna Stephens – Tenor Sax
“Murphy is a master of mood and atmosphere.” -Carlo Wolf, Downbeat Magazine
Following up his well-received Slip Away (2016) and Pocketful of Rainbows (2018), vocalist-guitarist Mark Murphy returns with the intimate and richly textured Hiding Place released September 2020. It is a record completed during the isolation of the Covid-19 pandemic. He says, “the experience of quarantine was balanced by the peace and joy of being alone in the studio and putting the finishing arranging touches on a record that was initially tracked in 2018.” Essentially, Hiding Place went into hiding, and it was the social isolation of the quarantine that finally brought it out. “When I returned to these songs,” he adds, “they felt like a timely reflection of the moment we’re currently living in. It was like connecting with an old friend that wanted to tell me something. The first lyric on the title track ‘Hiding Place’ is, ‘A little bit of love will light the way.’ That feels like right now to me.”
Michael Bailey from All About Jazz has the following to say about Mark’s new album:
“Murphy proves an equal to Shirley Horn at being able to slow a song down to its point of stasis while still retaining the sacred pulse of forward motion…While an excellent composer as illustrated in the title song, Murphy’s remains outstanding in selecting and transforming cover material. The Police’s “Tea in the Sahara” and “Two of Us” may stand as definitive performances of these songs.”
Mark Murphy, singer-songwriter, owner & founder of Mark Murphy’s Music in downtown South Orange, Chair of the South Orange Village Center Alliance (SOVCA) and 2019 SOPAC Gala Honoree, is also an avid local music supporter.
Mark Murphy’s Music is one of the largest music schools in the NYC area and celebrates its 17-year anniversary this November. The school has a faculty of over 30 top-level performing musicians, a dozen lesson rooms and a professional recording studio where students have the opportunity to learn the art of music recording, mixing and production.
In addition to teaching and expanding programs at his school, Mark writes, records and performs his own music. He has been reviewed and honored in national publications including the premiere Jazz magazine, Downbeat. In 2016, Downbeat named his album Slip Away one of the year’s best, calling it, “an assured debut by a gifted musician with stories to tell.”
Jon Cowherd is an esteemed pianist / composer / arranger / producer who is firmly established as one of the Jazz world’s most accomplished, expressive and in-demand young musicians. Cowherd is best known for his long-running partnership with drummer / bandleader Brian Blade, with whom he co-founded the Brian Blade Fellowship, whose acclaimed, influential albums showcase Cowherd’s stellar keyboard work and singular compositional skills. When not recording and touring with the Fellowship, Cowherd has worked extensively with a broad array of players and singers from the Jazz, Pop and Rock worlds.
As one of the most admired, accomplished bassists working in Jazz today, Larry Grenadier has been praised as “a deeply intuitive” musician by The New York Times and as an instrumentalist with a “fluid sense of melody” by Bass Player magazine. Grenadier has created an expansive body of work in collaboration with many of the genre’s most inventive, influential musicians – from early days playing with sax icons Joe Henderson and Stan Getz to what has been decades performing alongside pianist Brad Mehldau, from extended experiences working with the likes of Paul Motian and Pat Metheny to co-leading the cooperative trio Fly (with Mark Turner and Jeff Ballard) and quartet Hudson (with John Scofield, John Medeski and Jack DeJohnette).
Jazz saxophonist and composer Dayna Stephens leads his own group and has performed extensively with Kenny Barron, Ambrose Akinmusire, Taylor Eigsti, Julian Lage, Eric Harland, Gerald Clayton and other contemporaries. Stephens grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and attended Berkeley High School. He went on to study at the Berklee School of Music and later at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. “His tenor sax playing is smooth, sometimes silky, other times simply warm and seductive” (G۔ Kanzler).
SOPAC Sessions is a livestream series of concerts coming to you directly from the SOPAC stage! These events, often featuring some of our most beloved SOMA-based performers, will bring the excitement of a night out at SOPAC right in to your living room. SOPAC Sessions will be free for SOPAC members and just $10 per ticket link for non-members.
Photo credits: Mark Murphy photos by Steve Vaccariello, Jon Cowherd, Larry Grenadier by Juan Hitters/ECM Records and Dayna Stephens John Rogers.