Born in 1949 in Worcester, Massachusetts, Paul Murphy grew up in Washington, D.C. At the age of 11 he started studying drums with Gene Krupa and then with Louis Bellson. By age 16 he was playing bebop with Billy Taylor, the Ellington bassist. After playing jazz and blues on the Washington scene for four years, he left for the West Coast in 1970. There he started playing avant garde in L.A. and the Bay Area, particularly with Mary Anne Driscoll, the singer-pianist, and Arthur Baron on tenor sax.

In 1974, Jimmy Lyons, Cecil Taylor’s legendary alto player heard Paul play in Oakland and asked him to come to New York to play with Jimmy’s group. For the next 12 years, Paul played, recorded, and toured the USA and Europe with Lyons. During this New York period, Paul also led his own quintet with Dewey Johnson on trumpet, Jay Oliver on bass, Karen Borca on bassoon, and Mary Anne Driscoll on piano. Paul also played with a spectrum of musicians ranging from John Lee Hooker to Jaki Bayard, Sun Ra and Eddie Gale.

The blow of Jimmy Lyon’s death in 1986 caused Paul to drop out of jazz for a year and a half, a period he spent in Las Vegas playing as a stage drummer. In late 1987 he moved back to the Bay Area, playing mostly avant garde with Glen Spearman on tenor, William Parker on bass, India Cook on violin and cellist Kash Killiam.

In 1990, Paul moved back to Washington, D.C. where he has recorded extensively for Mapleshade. In the avant garde arena, he did four recording sessions with pianist Joel Futterman, a session with Glen Spearman, Raphe Malik and William Parker, another session with Mary Anne Driscoll and William Parker and several free jazz duo and trio session, with Larry Willis. Playing in a more straightahead vein, Paul has done Mapleshade sessions with Clifford Jordan, Ran Blake and Larry Willis plus a number of blues and soul sessions.


Sunshower (#08532) A Minute With Miles (#01132) Blues, Booze, and Oldtimey Soul (#06452) Afterglow (#02132) Highways of Gold (#02252)


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