Mora´s Modern Rhythmists – Goblin Market (2002)

FrontCover1MORA’S MODERN MUSIC represents the various vintage-style bands founded by pianist Dean Mora and based in Los Angeles, California.   These groups perform American dance music from the years 1900 to 1950, using period arrangements and transcriptions from the original recordings.  Each group is presented with a keen eye towards authenticity, both in terms of musical performance, as well as the appearance of its musicians.

MORA’S MODERN RHYTHMISTS is the “flagship” of the MMM family, having been the first to be organized back in 1994, for the purpose of performing American popular dance music from the 1920s and early 1930s, using period arrangements and transcriptions from the original recordings.

Following a series of small concerts around the Los Angeles area, the Rhythmists were hired as the Monday-night house band at the Derby, a nightclub situated in one of the original Brown Derby Restaurants, in Hollywood, and which was considered by many to be the “ground-zero” of the Swing Revival of the 1990s.  Soon, Mora’s Modern Rhythmists began to garner a reputation as one of the best swing bands in Los Angeles, and their Monday night performances gained a cult following among dancers and band enthusiasts alike.  They remained at the club for almost three years.

Following their departure from the Derby in late 1999, Mora’s Modern Rhythmists began to perform at many other venues in the Los Angeles area, many of a historical nature. (taken from the official homepage)

LyleSpudMurphyAnd this is a wonderful appreciation of Lyle “Spud” Murphy and his great arrangments from the classic and golden days of Big Band Jazz:

Lyle Stephanovic (August 19, 1908 – August 5, 2005), better known as Spud Murphy, was an American jazz multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, and arranger.

Born Miko Stefanovic to Serbian émigré parents in Berlin, Germany, Murphy grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he took the name of a childhood friend. Murphy studied clarinet and saxophone when young and took trumpet lessons from Red Nichols’s father. He worked with Jimmy Joy in 1927-28 and with Ross Gorman and Slim Lamar (on oboe) in 1928. He worked in the early 1930s as saxophonist-arranger for Austin Wylie, Jan Garber, Mal Hallett, and Joe Haymes, then became a staff arranger for Benny Goodman from 1935 to 1937. At the same time he also contributed charts to the Casa Loma Orchestra, Isham Jones, Les Brown and many others.

LyleSpudMurphy2From 1937 to 1940 Murphy led a big band, and recorded for Decca Records and Bluebird Records in 1938-39. In the 1940s he relocated to Los Angeles, where he did work in the studios and with film music, in addition to authoring and teaching the 1200-page “System of Horizontal Composition” (a.k.a. “Equal Interval System”). He recorded two jazz albums in the 1950s, but his later career was focused on classical and film music. In the film world, Murphy was staff composer/arranger for Columbia pictures under Morris Stoloff where he worked on over 50 films including “The Tony Fontaine Story” which one him the Neff Award for best music score.

In 2003, orchestra leader Dean Mora, a close friend of Murphy’s, recorded some two dozen of his arrangements in a tribute CD, Goblin Market.

In addition to being a talented composer, arranger and musician, Murphy became a renowned educator, writing over 26 books on various topics in music such as instrumental techniques and music theory. His crowning achievement was his completely original 12 volume course in composing, arranging and orchestration for the professional musician titled “The Equal Interval System.” He taught mostly in Los Angeles but also taught a special course at the Mt. Royal Conservatory in Calgary, Canada. He was a much beloved instructor who was voted the Educator of the Year by the LA Jazz Society in 1990.

Spud Murphy died in Los Angeles, two weeks short of his 97th birthday. (by wikipedia)

Mora’s Goblin Market CD features Spud’s arrangements and compositions from 1928-1937.  It’s a fine collection featuring such rarities as Spud’s never previously recorded arrangement of Duke Ellington’s “Bird of Paradise.”

Enjoy this brilliant tribute !

Bill Barrett (trumpet)
Matt Germaine (clarinet, saxophone)
John Grab (trombone)
Damon Kirsche (vocals)
Phil Krawzak (clarinet saxophone)
Paul Lines (drums)
Dean Mora (piano, vocals)
Kayre Morrison (vocals)
Geoff Nudell (clarinet saxophone)
Dave Ryan (trombone)
Chris Tedesco (trumpet)
Lee Westenhofer (tuba)
Roy Wiegand (trumpet)
Bill Wilson (clarinet saxophone)
Larry Wright (drums)
Jim Ziegler (trumpet, vocals)

01. I Got Worry (Trent) 3.13
02. Modern Melody (Dick/Shapiro) 2.55
03. Can This Be The End Of Love (Stride) 3.09
04. Dames (Dubin/Warren) 2.51
05. Goblin Market (Haymes/Murphy) 2.54
06. Object Of My Affection (Grier/Poe/Tomlin) 3.12
07. Anything Goes (Porter) 2.45
08. Restless (Coslow/Satterfield) 3.09
09. Jingle Bells (Pierpont) 2.42
10. If The Moon Turns Green (Hanighen/Cates) 3.10
11.She’s A Latin From Manhattan (Dubin/Warren) 2.30
12. Diga Diga Doo (Fields/McHugh) 2.13
13. Let’s Face The Music And Dance (Berlin) 2.22
14. Get Happy (Arlen/Koehler) 3.24
15. Bird Of Paradise (Ellington) 2.52
16. Do You Or Don’t You Love Me (Nesbitt/Smalle) 2.56
17. Sing Sing Sing (With a Swing) (Prima) 2.39
18. I Know That You Know (Youmans/O´Dea/Harbach) 2.38
19. Shivery Stomp (Ellis) 2.48
20. Ballad In Blue (Carmichael/Kahal) 2.30