Murphy, Paul F(lorence)
- Dominic A. Fragman
(b Worcester, MA, Jan 25, 1949). American percussionist, bandleader, and composer. He began playing drums as a child, was befriended by Gene Krupa at age six, and later studied with Louie Bellson. He also worked under the tutelage of Joshua Leavitt, the director of the Peabody Conservatory and the principal percussionist of the National Symphony Orchestra. By age 16 he was performing regularly with Duke Ellington’s bass player Billy Taylor. In 1970 he relocated to San Francisco and established himself as a bandleader in such jazz venues as Keystone Korner. After meeting Cecil Taylor and his longtime alto saxophonist Jimmy Lyons in San Francisco, Murphy moved to New York. There he managed Rashied Ali’s club, Ali’s Alley, and became Lyons’s first-choice drummer until the saxophonist’s death in 1986. During the 1980s Murphy led recording dates at CBS and RCA with a band that included Mary Anne Driscoll, Karen Borca, Lyons, and Dewey Johnson. He has subsequently collaborated with the pianist Larry Willis and the poet Jere Carroll, performing works that link the worlds of bebop and the avant garde and have been noted as a new direction in the jazz and art arena. In addition to leading pioneering recordings and ensembles, Murphy is also renowned for his innovative approach to the drum set. He is a fluent, compositionally minded master drummer and has performed with numerous musicians across a vast spectrum of genres....