An experienced improviser, composer, arranger and teacher, Greg Murphy has led, directed and performed with various groups throughout the world for the past three decades. Maxwell Chandler of JazzPolice.com 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.”
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 LFTR, The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Big Band, The Northern Illinois University (NIU) 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.