Olivia Murphy Jazz Orchestra – “Somewhere Not So Far” – London Jazz News


Olivia Murphy Jazz Orchestra – Somewhere, not so far

(Download only, available on BandCamp. Album review by Patrick Hadfield)

Olivia Murphy was a new name to me, so my first impression was of very accomplished music, recorded live at Birmingham Symphony Hall earlier this year, appearing just fully formed. In fact, Murphy has already won several awards and released a series of small group recordings featuring the singer. Becca Wilkins and pianist Olly Chalk, both of which are listed here. Murphy studied saxophone at the Royal Birmingham Conservatory and has since conducted and been commissioned to write arrangements for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra and others. This is clearly a name to watch.

Of the twenty-one musicians who make up the Olivia Murphy Jazz Orchestra – it is indeed a very large group – I only knew one before this release, the trumpeter Charlotte Keefe. I’m sure that’s going to change, because there’s a lot of instrumental talent here.

In addition to singing lyrics, Wilkins features atmospheric vocal sections, such as another voice within the orchestra or duets with saxes and Jonny Mansfieldvibraphone at different points.

Murphy’s arrangements are full of texture and dynamic variation, while leaving plenty of room for soloists and several freer segments. Brass and saxes punctuate the tunes with force, piercing with rhythm and style.

In places his brass arrangements are reminiscent of Gil Evans, different sections ending lines started by another; elsewhere, saxophones and trombones recall Maria Schneider, melancholy and brooding. There are also excellent solos throughout. This music is full of emotions and ideas.

Olivia Murphy performs at the London Jazz Festival with the Calum Gourlay Big Band at two shows on Friday November 11when she will lead the group in some of her own compositions and join the saxophone section for an interpretation of pieces by Charles Mingus.

Patrick Hadfield lives in Edinburgh, occasionally takes photographsand sometimes blogs on In the time. Twitter: @patrickhadfield


Olivia Murphy – composer, bandleader, conductor

Becca Wilkins – Vocals,

Flute/sax: Rianna Henriques, Lewis Sallows, George Garford, Jonny Chung, Kyran Matthews, Alicia Gardener-Trejo –

Trumpets: Tom Syson, Alex Astbury, Charlotte Keeffe, Dan Coulthurst

Trombones: Dave Sear, Joe Carnell, Rosie Smithers, Michaias Berlouis

Steve Payne – French horn, Jonny Mansfield – vibraphone

Daniel Kemshell – Guitar

Olly Chalk – Piano, Aram Bahmaie – Double bass, Kai Chareunsy – Drums

CONNECTIONS: Somewhere… on Bandcamp

Olivia Murphy’s website

The release date is October 28, 2022

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Henry R. Wright