Chris Murphy

I'm A Happy Guy

BY Eric ThomPublished Dec 1, 2004

Chris Murphy has more reasons than most to be a happy guy. He’s been steadily gigging for years, he loves what he’s doing and he’s surrounded by good friends, many of which support him on this, his second release. Fifteen tracks ably demonstrate Murphy’s love of party music and the material showcase Murphy’s legendary versatility: from blues to swing jazz; funk to soul and back. A potpourri of Ontario’s best grace Happy, including Terry Lee, Jack de Keyzer. Michael Fonfara, Gary Kendall and the divine team of Janalynne Rogers and Denise Pelley on lead vocals. Murphy takes lead vocals on a few tracks but his obvious strengths translate to alto, tenor and baritone sax best — the singing better left to others, as both Rogers and Pelley prove in spades. The instrumentals are Murphy’s stock-in-trade, however — tough, tight tunes driven forward by hard-playing musicians who live for high energy delivery — fast and furious. A few tracks trip the lounge fantastic but are smooth and brimming with verve (notably "Soulful Strut”). Lee’s own "No Big Thang” offers scintillating moments on both sax and guitar while the opener, "Hit It,” is tied for best track as de Keyser soars into orbit and Murphy’s sax takes flight. Their muscular neo-fusion take on "No Junk, Just Fonk” is another killer instrumental while "Picante Blues” boasts some devilishly delicious guitar against Murphy’s soulful strut. Hell, now I’m happy, too.

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