Murphy, Mark (Howe)
- Jeffrey Holmes
(b Syracuse, NY, March 14, 1932; d Englewood, NJ, Oct 22, 2015). American jazz singer. He studied acting and music at Syracuse University and was discovered in 1953 by Sammy Davis Jr., who helped him land an appearance on Steve Allen’s “Tonight Show.” Over a six-decade career he made more than 35 solo albums, from the debut Meet Mark Murphy (1956, Decca) to the self-produced Never Let me Go (2010). His album Rah! (1961, Riv.) featured a particularly strong line-up, including Bill Evans, Clark Terry, and Urbie Green. His work has typically mixed popular and jazz standards; the Grammy-nominated album Night Mood (1987) focused on the music of the Brazilian composer Ivan Lins. His distinctive vocal approach—silky, hip, and virtuosic in the early years and gradually featuring a more dramatic, poetic delivery—garnered six Grammy Award nominations, as well as four Best Vocalist of the Year Awards from the Downbeat Readers Poll....