Murphy, Turk [Melvin Edward Alton ]
- John Chilton
[Melvin Edward Alton ]
(b Palermo, CA, Dec 16, 1915; d San Francisco, CA, May 30, 1987). American jazz trombonist and bandleader. A stalwart of traditional jazz in California, he first came to fame in the band led by the trumpeter Lu Watters (1940–42, 1946–9). Murphy formed his own band in 1949 and continued to lead it into the 1980s. The band was based in San Francisco, where they had a permanent booking for many years at a club called Earthquake McGoon’s. They also worked occasionally on the East Coast, and toured Australia and Europe during the 1970s. Murphy’s trombone style was robust and full of good humor; the repertory of his band blended jazz classics of the 1920s with well-known ballads and original compositions. The consistency of Murphy’s style is clearly apparent on the huge number of recordings that his band, with various changes of personnel, made from 1950 to 1980...