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Turk Murphy

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Turk Murphy led one of the most popular bands of the San Francisco Dixieland movement. After playing with various big bands (including Mal Hallett and Will Osborne), Murphy first gained fame for his work with Lu Watters' highly influential Yerba Buena Jazz Band (1940-1947). He formed his own group in 1947 and after 13 years, they found a permanent home at Earthquake McGoon's and also toured occasionally. Although not thought of as a virtuoso trombone soloist and his occasional singing was just passable, Murphy's ensemble work was superior and he put together a stimulating repertoire filled with obscurities and favorites from the 1920s (along with some newer originals). His bands were always very musical; among his sidemen through the years were trumpeters Don Kinch, Bob Short, and Leon Oakley; clarinetist Bob Helm; pianists Wally Rose, Pete Clute, and Ray Skjelbred; and singer Pat Yankee. Turk Murphy and his beloved group made many records for such labels as Good Time Jazz, Fairmont, Columbia (1953-1956), Verve, Dawn Club, Roulette, RCA, Motherlode, Atlantic, GHB, MPS, Stomp Off, and Merry Makers. ~ Scott Yanow

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Birth Name:

Melvin Edward Alton Murphy


16 December 1915 in Palermo, CA

Years Active:

'30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s