An experienced improviser, composer, arranger and teacher, Greg Murphy has led, directed and performed with various groups around the world for the past three decades. In a 2015 review referencing “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” from Greg’s CD, "Blues for Miles," Maxwell Chandler writes: “… not every musician can play the blues. Greg displays an authenticity not in any specific blues-based structure but in an organic soulfulness. There is a power to the performance deriving from simplicity …. Tinged with melancholy but bearable on account of its beauty, it is a rainy day with all the leaves of the trees dripping silvered jewels.” He goes on: “‘Hat Trick’ is another original. It is free jazz not in the genre sense but in the band allowing different components from several genres to meld without concern of adhering to any specific formula …. A dramatic cohesiveness is created not because all the musicians play in unison but because each of the smaller patterns executed within the piece bolster the others.” In another 2015 review of "Blues for Miles," Bob Rusch of Cadence Magazine writes “… a strong ensemble [with] some very effective free playing on ‘Free Ur Mind’ and ‘Free Han Solo.’”
Greg began his musical adventures in 1971 when he joined the Ray-Fisk Grammar School Band in Chicago. His classical studies began later that year with Lucia Santini at Roosevelt University. Between 1980 and 1984, he played with the jazz/funk band Lightning Flash Thunder Roar, The University of Illinois at Chicago Big Band, The Northern Illinois University Big Band, and other local Chicago bands.
A jazz study grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1984 gave Greg the opportunity to go to 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," (Greg’s first recording) 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.
Throughout his career, Greg has performed in Japan, China and The Philippines with his own trio and other groups. He’s also worked in New York with Ornette Coleman and in France with Carlos Santana and Archie Shepp. In 2012, Greg recorded the theme song “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” for the HBO documentary "Redemption," which was produced and directed by Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill. "Redemption" received a 2013 Academy Award nomination for best documentary short.
Greg also performed with Arthur Taylor, Branford Marsalis, Joe Lovano, Grachan Moncur, III, Christian McBride, Flava Flav, Cindy Blackman, Terrence Blanchard, Harry Connick, Jr., Charles McPherson, and James Blood Ulmer, among many others.
Greglm3@gmail.com – (201) 453-3622