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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
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Tuesday, June 11

Mark Murphy & Kurt Elling

I haven't written anything about music in a long time. So, now it's time again. I'm a long ago jazz fan, going all the way back to Stan Kenton in the middle of the last century, whose band sent me crashing on my way. And all the early jazz vocalists, like Sarah Vaughan and Ella (I don't even have to give her last nema) and Carmen MacRae and a host of others. Notice that I haven't mentioned any male jass vocalitsts? Frank (I don't even have to give his last name) doesn't count, since he's not really a jazz singer, even though what he does is better than anything anyone else has ever done. And I guess I was a fan of the Velvet Fog, Mel Torme, but only with one ear. Then I found Mark Murphy a decade or so ago. I don't remember how I found him, maybe YouTube or Amazon or browsing at the now defunct Borders. Or maybe he, like magic, found me. Mark Murphy isn't a singer any but jazz fanatics would know. He was always better known and listened to in Europe than here. And anyone who doesn't care for scat wouldn't care for him, because he's the male Ella when it comes to improv scat. He has about a four-octave range, and he takes us and a song up and down and around and around till it comes out here. Just listen to what he does with "Speak Low" when he was a youngster of eighty.

And then I found Kurt Elling. I found him through Rene Fleming, the opera soprano, who once said that Elling was one of her favorite singers. The Murphy influence on Elling is obvious when you listen to them side by side. Listen to his version of "My Foolish Heart. Listen carefully to the central portion about the moon being a moth. Wow. And notice what the piano player does during that moth segment, playing keys with his left hand, plucking piano strings with his right. Wow.

And if, after listening to these two, you aren't a captive Murphy and Elling fan, then you can just shake your head and wonder what in hell I was talking about.
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