For more than a decade, violinist Chris Murphy has been playing the gospel according to jazz in a style that has not been seen since the heydays of Joe Venuti, Stephane Grapelli, Stuff Smith and Noel Pointer. Each of those four musicians and others like them brought something unique to the world of jazz. While playing one of the genre's most unconventional of instruments, Murphy takes on the influences of the so-called West Coast Cool style of jazz with his latest release entitled 'On A Blue Afternoon.' Calling upon the legacies made famous by the likes of Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, Gil Evans and Miles Davis, Chris Murphy takes his listeners down memory lane with 12 original tracks that focus upon the celebrated era of the 1950s. That was a time when the West Coast sound was reaching its peak amongst a newly enthused eclectic audience.
This release pays tribute to the violinists who influenced Murphy during his formative years. In addition, there is a cornucopia of well-defined nuances of an era that ushered in an entirely new generation of jazz connoisseurs. Overall, 'On A Blue Afternoon' takes on a well-defined laid back approach that ebbs and flows with strategically placed rhythms. With the violin as the lead instrument of this trio based group, the dynamics of this recording takes on many faces. Chris is extremely adept at taking on an identity of quality sounding jazz without compromising the overall texture of his interpretive efforts.
When listening to 'On A Blue Afternoon,' I did not have the slightest notion of what to expect. From the onset, I was pleasantly surprised with the depth of spirit the recording contained. Every track carried with it a sense of intrigue that culminated into a wide range of ideas. Murphy is smooth and exotic on the low end, but he can also take things up a notch with a superb sense of timing. This CD is well worth the listening effort if something purposeful is desired. Acoustically speaking Chris Murphy is at his celebrated best, while drummer DJ Bonebreak and bassist David J. Carpenter round out the ensemble with a special blend of accompanyment. Collectively, the trio travels into jazz that is seldom seen or heard by conventional standards. In fact, 'On A Blue Afternoon' takes on multiple identities, while delving into the essence of what quality sounding jazz music should be about. Without a doubt, this recording is worth every note of conveyance.