Rafi Zabor’s Updoc, Fri 10/30 & Tues 11/3

MarkMur

Habitual listeners to Updoc will know that I play very little vocal music on the show, according to my predilection for the instrumental; and when it comes to vocals, especially jazz vocals, as I get older I tend to prize more than ever the virtues of simplicity, restraint, refinement of taste, and a lack of pushiness. But then there’s Mark Murphy, who died the other day at the improbable age of 83, and who began his career as a light-voiced swinger of considerable grace and ended the possessor of a voice—and a face—so ravaged that one automatically wondered about his intake of who-knows-what across the decades. That said, he was no male analogue of The Lady in Satin: his ravaged, haggard voice had lost none of his amazing technique—he could swoop in an instant from the precipice of a plaint to something like a belch, and boff every note right on its beezer—and as for his range of expression, the words immense, daunting, supernatural, and inexplicable are among those that come to mind. More amazingly still, this wealth of hyper-expressiveness never wearies the ear or the heart, never palls or wears thin. On this week’s Updoc—Friday at 8PM and noon next Tuesday, Park Avenue Bowery time—we start with one of his first recordings and dabble across the decades to his end. If you don’t know his work, tune in for a hair-raising experience. Also on board for the two-hour span is some scarifying live Miles Davis from 1969, three selections from Laurie Anderson’s brand-new record including one from Lou Reed, one of the Estonian master Eduard Tubin’s strongest symphonies—his 6th, from 1956—and some elegiac John Coltrane. Sound like your kind of thing? Then come along and share the ride.

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