Greg Murphy Quartet
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Greg Murphy Quartet

Union City, New Jersey, United States | SELF

Union City, New Jersey, United States | SELF
Band Jazz Avant-garde


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"Various Reviews"

This is a tightly woven [quintet] led by Canadian-born and New York-based Greg Murphy. Throughout Murphy's career, he has been associated with a most diversified roster of musicians, from Ellis Marsalis to Carlos Santana, Archie Shepp, Ornette Coleman and Barry Altschul and Harry Connick! In his CD Orientation, Murphy focuses mainly on his Latin, bop and electronics sides.
"Triple Dipple's" hot introduction immediately sets the mood of the piece and establishes the varied and virile pace of the album as a whole. The A section is pure Latin jazz based on a very simple and straight melodic line. It is segued by an eight-bar improvised saxophone solo on the B section, setting an interesting contrast between the two sections of the tune.

The eponymous "Orientation" features a noteworthy acoustic bass solo by Alex Hernandez (also featured on electric bass on "Keeping it Simple") who gives the best of himself in this piece played in [quartet] format. "Trane's Mode" pays homage to John Coltrane's "Mister PC." It illustrates well the leader's predilection for high energy tunes. Reverting to the quartet format, the theme is played in unison by piano and saxophone, very much in keeping with the Coltrane spirit. In this cut, the pianist's phrases are longer and more structured. Special mention should be made of the hot 12-bar exchanges between Lawrence Clark's saxophone and Noel Sagerman's drums.

"Cedar Salad" once again features Lawrence Clark's saxophone, with a few nods at George Coleman and John Coltrane. The straight-ahead theme, played in a medium tempo groove, is exposed in unison by piano and saxophone. Clark's fluid solo is especially impressive. "A Strain from Wayne" played by piano, bass and drums, [and percussion] concludes the CD and takes the listener back to the pulsating ambience of the album's opener.

Not content to just demonstrate his jazz chops on the aforementioned pieces, Greg Murphy adds two electric jazz fusion works ("Puffin Land," "Alternate Voices") and two evergreens from the standard repertoire (Jimmy Van Heusen's "I Thought About You," Bob Haggard's "What's New") to his versatile and rich musical palette. Steeped in the piano solo tradition, the latter two are played straight and simple, with no superfluous frills or unnecessary adornments. Murphy offers a mix of Latin, fusion, bop, jazz standards and a host of swinging and original tunes on Orientation!
By Lilian Dericq, Jazz Improv, Spring 2007

Orientation (Murphasaurus)
(5 Stars) Excellent!
My introduction to Greg Murphy was seeing him as part of Rashied Ali's Quintet at Sweet Rhythm in NYC. I mean, this guy just totally knocked me out. So much so that I searched to see if he had any recordings under his own name. Well....leave it to CD Baby! I ordered it and since it's arrival it's been in very heavy rotation on my CD player. And I don't see it leaving heavy rotation for a very long time. This guy's got it all -- chops, taste, great tunes and an excellent group to surround himself with. You just cannot go wrong with Greg Murphy's, "Orientation".
By Mike Thompson
Austin, Texas

Triple Dipple / Orientation / Trane’s Mode / I Thought About You
Keeping It Simple / Puffin Land / Alternate Voices / What’s New
Cedar Salad / A Strain From Wayne. 51:39.
Murphy, p, kybd; Raphael Cruz, perc; Alex Hernandez,
b; Noel Sagerman, d; Lawrence Clark, ts. April 5, May 9,
2005, Hampton, NJ.
Funny thing about Greg Murphy’s second release under his own name: With the exception of the chestnut “I Thought About You,” the first half dozen or so songs had me hooked, line and sinker as they say. His “Sahara”-era Tyner intensity and quicksilver Latin-fusion compositions hit me as a heady mix of technical wow and intellectual depth. But then came tracks six and seven with their cheesy, wheezy electro-keyboards, a real turn-off considering the bulk of the first half of the program. And Murphy—who really is a fine pianist, and one who has recorded extensively with Rashied Ali—me thinks should not be tackling solo the likes of ballads like “What’s New” and the aforementioned Van Heusen/Mercer number; he relies far too heavily on sheen over substance. That said, throw a tongue-twisting, rapid-fire chart at this son of a gun and watch out—he can burn with the best of them. And did I mention, his band is the embodiment of liquid flame? Well they are, and so is Murphy, which is why one should keep posted.
By Charles Winokoor
Cadence Magazine February 2007

Orientation (Murphasaurus)
This album is a miscellany of at least four things, all of them competent, none of them distinguished. First is Greg Murphy’s Coltrane bag. He has played piano with the saxophone legend’s last drummer, Rashied Ali, for nearly 20 years, so his Coltrane connection is real. Murphy’s quintet has tenor saxophonist Lawrence Clark, who can channel Coltrane with stunning verisimilitude. Murphy does a very credible McCoy Tyner, too. Derivativeness notwithstanding, the group’s familiarity with this music and their passion for it make pieces like “Trane’s Mode” fun. (The visceral in-your-face recorded sound of engineer Paul Wickliffe also aids the cause.)
The second, Murphy’s piano-trio-ballad persona, is perhaps the best. “I Thought About You” and “What’s New” are never startling, but Murphy’s percussive touch gives their rhapsodic intensity an aggressive, chiseled quality.

The third and fourth items—Murphy’s Latin and electric jazz fusion projects—are less interesting. “Keeping It Simple” fulfills the promise of its title all too well. “Alternate Voices” offers minimal musical content amid its electronic swirls and washes. Fortunately, we are spared the clichéd commonplaces and strained rhymes of the song’s lyrics, which appear only in the liner notes.
By Thomas Conrad
Jazz Times September 2006

GREG MURPHY Orientation (Murphasaurus)
This is an initiation, direction and perspective on the music of a great pianist and his life-long venture. It’s the sort of proper jazz LP that I love discovering completely by accident. First and foremost, if you are a fan of true jazz then you need to discover this new CD from the New Jersey pianist Greg Murphy. Since the age of eleven Greg has embarked on a journey studying, touring, gaining notoriety and recording with a HUGE list of incredible musicians such as Archie Shepp, Wynton Marsalis, Rashied Ali, Ravi Coltrane, Roy Hargrove, Santana, Christian McBride, Ornette Coleman, Larry Willis, Larry Ridley, Flava Flav…Musically, ‘Orientation’ is all about the independent label concept, not over polished – organic expression for spiritual beings. There are five great musicians on here that just create an arcadia for me on tracks like the fiery ‘Triple Dipple,’ ‘Keeping It Simple,’ ‘A Strain from Wayne’ and, of course, the title track. What a majestic tune!
By Raggy
Straight No Chaser Autumn 2006 (UK)

Some recordings get me within the first seconds of listening, that’s the case with Greg Murphy’s Orientation. The first cut, Triple Dipple, opens with a creative energy which is surged by multiple time feels and meter changes. The groove is positive and engaging. The solo’s are masterful, which leads me as a listener right through the entire disc of music. I was thoroughly entertained and the music created an eagerness in me to want to see this band “live” the next time I was in NYC!

Murphy is truly fine keyboardist with [an] excellent background. As many great instrumentalists, Murphy is drawn by the keyboard masters from various era’s. I know this because the nature of his compositions [displayed] this on this recording. He is as comfortable on grand piano as a multitude of keyboard instruments. Many people try to perform in many contrasting genres, but few attain to convincing performances. Murphy and gang do this in convincing style.

Quality recordings have the necessary contrasts that draw their listeners to their music. Murphy’s other compositions include Trane’s Mode” which is a minor blues, which has a strong post-bop flavor. The variety continues as Murphy shows several different sides of his musical personality. Two fusion numbers dominated by keyboards and electric bass, “Puffin Land” and “Alternate Voices”, form a break between the acoustic sections. My favorite tracks are Murphy’s solo piano standards, ballads “I Thought About You” and “What’s New”. He displays fine touch and sensitivity. Most impressive, he show’s that he is at home in these traditional mainstream styles as well as the more modern modal music.

There are other fine performances by the other instrumentalists on this disc. It is a fine ensemble. All the players are fine soloists and ensemble musicians. The group plays with a passion and groove which draws the audience into each performance.
It’s refreshing to hear musicians who play and perform in a manner that reflects the natural evolution of Jazz, without losing originality, while creating their own voice in music! Murphy is one of those people.
By Rick Holland
Jazz Radio 24 seven August 2006

Greg Murphy
Pianist Greg Murphy’s Orientation contains attractive original tunes delivered by a top-notch mainstream quintet. It opens with a bang with his kinetic, latin-flavored “Triple Dipple” which tumbles along in 6/8, driven by a simple but appealing melody in Lawrence Clark’s tenor sax. The three-feel of the meter soon alternates with swing, and up-tempo bop sections in four-time, the effortless transitions revealing a deftly synchronous unit. (Alex Hernandez on bass and Noel Sagerman on drums [Raphael Cruz on percussion] complete the group.)

The title track is built in a seemingly irregular form with modal sections of syncopated, dense piano chords shifting colorfully between major and minor, while “Trane’s Mode” is a bop blues with a chord progression carrying a scent of Coltrane’s classic “Mr. P.C.”. The variety continues as Murphy shows several different sides of his musical personality. Two fusion numbers dominated by keyboards and electric bass, “Puffin Land” and “Alternate Voices”, form a break between the acoustic sections, while on two fine solo piano standards, the ballads “I Thought About You” and “What’s New”, Murphy carries the melodies firmly yet fluidly on top of full, ten-fingered textures.
By Brian Lonergan

“…A brilliant new jazz LP,
Orientation, by *Greg Murphy* from NYC
with some glorious piano led
Latin jazz dance tracks”
-Off Limits Radio with Raggy (UK)

“Incredible New York City pianist
Greg Murphy brings new tracks to radioioJazz...
his album 'orientation' is absolutely amazing...”
-Dr. Mike

“The CD is killin. Really…this is great.”
-Matt Merewitz
Music Director
WRCT Pittsburgh, PA

“Niiiiiiice!…It sounds great!”
-Tom Hunter
Music Director
KNTU, Dallas-Fort Worth, TX

“Great record!!!!! Will be adding it for our jazz program.”
- Peter Solomon
WCVE, Richmond, VA

“I second Peter [Solomon’s] opinion. I will sure give this CD more spins.”
- Joost van Steen
Jazz & Blues Tour, The Netherlands

“Very impressive release.”
- Larry Dane-Kellogg
WHCJ, Savannah, GA

“…A terrific album…wonderful work.”
-Lise Avery
Executive Producer
Anything Goes!! With Lise Avery
Internationally Syndicated Radio

“A breath of fresh Air”
- Bobby Jackson
Music Director
WCPN, Cleveland, OH

“Pianist Greg Murphy’s new release, “Orientation” is hot stuff! Greg demonstrates his considerable keyboard style with a mix of straight ahead, bop, funk/fusion and for good measure, throws in a couple of very tasty ballads (‘What's New’ and ‘I Thought About You’).

“All done very nicely and very listenable, but the straight ahead/bop arena is where Greg really cooks (would you expect anything less with song titles such as ‘Triple Dipple’, ‘Cedar Salad’ and ‘A Strain From Wayne’?).
“If this one isn't on your shelf, sell your CD player!”
- "Dr. Bob,"

Greg Murphy
Let's Get Started
Murphasaurus Records
Greg Murphy, piano, keyboards; Dale Robbins, electric bass; John Brown, drums
The title track (first on the CD) took me back to the days of Weather Report. Wonderful work by Dale Robbins. It is really his show with Greg Murphy's support. "Little Miss Tigerfish" (both takes) was an opportunity for Greg Murphy to showcase his piano talents and he did.

The liner notes state that Greg Murphy has studied with Ellis Marsalis and has toured with Rashied Ali and worked with a host of major musicians. All of that polish is demonstrated on this CD. Even though many of the musicians he performed with are considered on the forefront of the Avant Garde, I found that Greg was able to take the listener out there and safely bring you back, something that all Avant Garde musicians don't bother to do. I think John Brown's contribution could have been more creative.
I look forward to more offerings by Greg Murphy.
Reviewer: Haybert K. Houston (, May 2005)

CD Reviews West
Greg Murphy Let's Get Started
At last! Internationally renowned modern jazz genius, Greg Murphy, finally takes pity on jazz hungry ears with the release of Let's Get Started. After a career spanning two decades, taking him from the States, across Europe, to Japan, China and back again, Murphy offers his unique talent to the public in this, his first album recording as a leader of his own band. Starting out in Chicago and New Orleans in the 80's, where he studied with prominent pianist Ellis Marsalis after winning a National Endowment study grant, Murphy has been a part of, and worked with some of the best names in the business; Percussion incorporated, The Fusicians, The New Orleans Jazz Couriers, Carlos Santana, Cindy Blackman, Raphael Cruz, Archie Shepp and the unmistakable Rashied Ali. Already featured on five successful albums, including Meditations, No One In Particular, Heart-Sound, and A Mano, Let's Get Started is a delicious showcase of swinging Murphy originals, enriched by the talented Dale Robbins and the rock-steady beat of John Brown on the drums. Electrifying bass, percussion and counter-melody tease through sophisticated tunes like "Little Miss Tigerfish" or the haunting re-work of "Stranded," shaping a finger-snapping, foot-tapping feast for us all. And the icing on the Snap Happy, jazz sizzled cake? You can currently catch Greg at The Ritz-Carlton on Nanjing Lu [Shanghai], where he indulges the public with hot shifting tunes in the Second Floor Lounge Bar, every Tuesday-Sunday evening. Go on; treat yourself to that groovin' jazz-funk fusion.
Reviewer: Natalie Hunt (QUO magazine, January 2005, p.49 ) Shanghai, Peoples Republic of China

Let's Get Started is full of driving energy and lyrical beauty. It swings and surprises. Just when you're nearing your fill of one of the trio's complex rhythms, they switch tempo or return to one of the lovely melodies that make this CD thoughtful and haunting. Just when you think this CD is about technical mastery, you notice the harmonious blend that gives each player an essential role. I can't classify Let's Get Started by style. I just know that when I listen to it I feel I'm in the hands of people (composer Greg Murphy on piano and keyboards, Dale Robbins on electric bass and John Brown on drums) who know what they're doing, and they do it very well indeed. Let's Get Started is complex but accessible to anyone who recognizes original work done with love and skill.
Reviewer: Dan North (Freelance Journalist, Editor, September 2004)

- Various


RASHIED ALI QUARTET (Blue Music Group 2009)
Rashied Ali - drums
Antoine Roney - sax
Greg Murphy - piano
Tyler Mitchell - bass. Recorded in Roanne, France in March 1989.

PRIMA MATERIA W/ RASHIED ALI (Blue Music Group 2009) Produced by Rashied Ali. Featuring Rashied Ali: Drums, Louie Belogenis: Tenor, Alan Chase: Alto, Greg Murphy: Piano, Wilbur Morris, Joe Gallant: Bass Recorded at Survival Studios, New York City, January 1st & 2nd, 1998.

RASHIED ALI QUINTET (Survival Records 126) 2009
Featuring Rashied Ali: drums, Josh Evans: trumpet, Lawrence Clark: Tenor Saxophone, Greg Murphy: Piano, Joris Teepe: Bass.

(RC Records 1003) 2008
Featuring Raphael Cruz: percussion, Manuel Valera: piano, Stefan Held: bass, Danilo Aviles: drums, Sonny Fortune: alto, Claudio Roditi: trumpet, Dave Valentin: flute, Ralph Bowen: tenor, Greg Murphy: piano, etc.

(Murphasaurus Records 003) 2006
Greg Murphy: piano and keyboards, Raphael Cruz: percussion, Alex Hernandez: acoustic and electric bass, Noel Sagerman: drums, Lawrence Clark: Tenor Saxophone. Recorded at Charlestown Road Sudios, Hampton, NJ, April 5th & May 9th, 2005.

(Survival Records 121) 2006
Featuring Rashied Ali: drums, Jumaane Smith: trumpet, Lawrence Clark: Tenor Saxophone, Greg Murphy: Piano, Joris Teepe: Bass. Recorded at Survival Studios, New York City, February 17th and 18th, 2005.

(Survival Records 122) 2006
Featuring Rashied Ali: drums, Jumaane Smith: trumpet, Lawrence Clark: Tenor Saxophone, Greg Murphy: Piano, Joris Teepe: Bass. Recorded at Survival Studios, New York City, February 17th and 18th, 2005.

(Murphasaurus Records 002) 2004
Written and Produced by Greg Murphy, EMT Publishing, ASCAP. Greg Murphy (piano, keyboards) Dale Robbins (electric bass), John Brown (drums). Recorded at Night Owl Studios, New York City, April, 1994.

(Survival Records 100) 2002
Featuring Rashied Ali: drums, Ravi Coltrane: tenor and soprano saxophones, Matthew Garrison: electric bass; Greg Murphy: piano, Gene Shimosato (Gene Ess): guitar. Recorded at Greene Street Studio, New York City, June 25th, 1992.

RAPHAEL CRUZ (Worldbeat Records 7802) 1999
Featuring Raphael Cruz: percussion, Richie Gonzalez: drums, Greg Murphy: piano, Ivan Bodley & Felix Gonzales: acoustic & electric bass, Hector Nieves flute. Recorded at Iiwii Studios, Weehawken, New Jersey, January 2nd, 1997.

PRIMA MATERIA W/ RASHIED ALI (Knitting Factory Works 180) 1996 Produced by Rashied Ali and Louie Belogenis. Featuring Rashied Ali: Drums, Louie Belogenis: Tenor, Alan Chase: Alto, Joe Gallant: Bass, Greg Murphy: Piano. Recorded live at The Knitting Factory, New York City, June 23rd, 1995.

PRIMA MATERIA W/ RASHIED ALI (Knitting Factory Works 190) 1997
Produced by Rashied Ali and Louie Belogenis. Featuring Rashied Ali: Drums, Louie Belogenis: Tenor, Alan Chase: Alto, Joe Gallant: Bass, Greg Murphy: Piano. Recorded live at The Knitting Factory, New York City, May 17th, 1996.

(Anami Music 007) 1995
Produced and arranged by Tisziji Munoz. Featuring Tisziji Munoz: (guitar, synthesizer), Don Pate: (bass), Toby Williams: (drums), Greg Murphy: (piano). Recorded at Heart-Sound Center, Albany, New York, July 9th, 1995.

VARIOUS ARTISTS Compilation including live performances of Prima Materia. AUM Fidelity 1998 AUM007/8 Producer - Steven Joerg. All exclusive recordings made by Alen Hadzi Stefanov at the Second Annual Vision Festival, the Orensanz Art Center, May 28 - June 1, 1997.



Greg Murphy can burn with the best of them. Having played with and been nurtured by great musicians representing the traditions of Chicago, New Orleans, and New York, Greg has developed his own voice, which truly makes him part of the jazz lineage. Maxwell Chandler writes in a 2009 review of Rashied Ali Quintet’s Live in Europe: “Throughout the album Greg Murphy’s piano possesses a cerebral element which allows for shimmering smoke and discordant percussive runs while never becoming overly fragile or sounding as if merely hitting the keys hard and fast.” In a 2007 review of Greg’s CD Orientation, Charles Winokoor of Cadence Magazine writes “…throw a tongue-twisting, rapid-fire chart at this son of a gun and watch out - he can burn with the best of them. And did I mention his band is the embodiment of liquid flame? Well they are, and so is Murphy, which is why one should keep posted.”

A jazz study grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1984 gave Greg the opportunity to go New Orleans and study with the eminent pianist and jazz educator, Ellis Marsalis. He remained there and began recording and performing with The New Orleans Jazz Couriers, Percussion Incorporated, and his own group, The Fusicians. The Percussion Incorporated album, Drum Talk, was recorded and released in 1987. While living in the crescent city, Greg performed with Donald Harrison, Wynton Marsalis, and countless other great musicians.

Greg moved to New York in 1987 and began what had become a long association with multi-directional drummer, Rashied Ali. Greg performed and recorded with Ali and his various groups throughout Europe, Canada, the United States and beyond, from 1987 until Rashied passed away in 2009. Below are some additional highlights of Greg’s career:

1989 - Performed in Tokyo, Japan with his trio, and toured the United States with a quartet.
1990 - Ornette Coleman asked Greg to put together a rhythm section to work on Coleman’s new jazz-funk original music, which resulted in a successful debut performance in New York.
- Toured France with Rashied Ali in a group featuring Carlos Santana and Archie Shepp.
- Led a septet (Club Bird Jazz All Stars) in Yokohama, Japan.
1991 - Performed solo in St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada--where he was born.
2001 - No One in Particular with Rashied Ali was released on the Survival Records label where Greg wrote the title tune.
2004 - Let’s Get Started, his first recording as a leader, was released on Murphasaurus Records.
2005 - Performed for two months in Shanghai, Peoples Republic of China.
2006 - Graduated from New Jersey City University with a Bachelors of Music Degree in Jazz Performance, studying piano and arranging with Allen Farnham and Pete McGuiness.
- Orientation was released on the Murphasaurus Records label.
- Judgment Day Vol. 1 and Judgment Day Vol. 2 by The Rashied Ali Quintet were released on the Survival Records label.
2006 - Greg worked closely with Rashied and his company Survival Records, helping with tour 2009 organization, publicity, promotion, distribution, website development and administration.
2008 - Time Travel by Raphael Cruz was released on the RC Records label.
- Greg launched a new online mp3 store called
2009 - Live in Europe by the Rashied Ali Quintet was released on the Survival Records label, and the website was launched.
- Led his own groups at Sweet Rhythm, Smalls, Zinc Bar and other venues in NYC.
2010 - Directed and performed with The Ignacio Moran Trio at the Philippine International Jazz
Festival, and also performed six nights at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Manila.
- Led his own groups at The Blue Note, Smalls, and Fat Cat in New York City.