MARK MURPHY [voc]: LIVE IN ATHENS, GREECE [Harbinger hcd 3202] is an unexpected treat. Recorded 4/19-20/08 with excellent backing from Spiros Exaras [grt/prod], Thomas Rueckert [p], Alex Drakos [drm] and George Georgiadis [b] this is beautifully sequenced and pieced together to effect a seamless set. The 11 tracks [73:15] here will be familiar to long time Murphy fans, though unfamiliar in interpretations. Murphy, who got increasingly loose and improvisory as he aged is very loose on this recording and as fine as this recording is, for new comers to his joy I’d recommend his earlier work to start. For fans this will be a joy. Here is a singer at comfort with himself and is at his improvising best. In the mid ’50s Murphy was marketed as the singing M, it never caught on and after several records (and years) with commercial labels, he hooked up with Riverside which to an extent unleashed his jazz instincts and he never looked back. This is a wonderful realization of a 50 year creative journey.