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Orla Murphy

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Reviews of Orla Murphy

 

01/06/2012 Cormac Larkin, The Irish Times

Wonderous Visions Golden Records ***
Belfast-born, London-based singer Orla Murphy’s second album, a heartfelt homage to the great Stevie Wonder, is remarkable for two reasons. First, it’s a mark of Wonder’s genius that these songs, written some 40 years ago for his own voice accompanied by electric instruments, stand up so well that an Irish woman singing with an acoustic jazz trio can find plenty to explore in them without ever losing their essential wonderousness. Second, it is a measure of Murphy’s achievement here that she brings something new to the songs, ably assisted by a talented group of young Londoners, notably bassist Andy Hamill and pianist Jonathan Gee. Her vocal style has clearly been influenced by her idol, and sometimes perhaps she strays too close to Wonder’s own delivery of the songs but when she finds her own voice, as she does on All I Do and Too High, she proves that she has something profound to say about Wonder’s wonderful songs. www.orlamurphy.net

 

26/04/2012 Peter Quinn, JAZZWISE (May '12 edition)

Orla Murphy’s fine tribute to one of music’s greatest songsmiths presents a superb cross-section of classic Wonder songs that no amount of repetition will dull. Culled in the main from his classic albums 'Music of my Mind', 'Talking Book', 'Innervisions', 'Fulfillingness’ First Finale' and 'Songs in the Key of Life', the album kicks off with a terrific interpretation of ‘All I Do’, in which we only get to hear the chorus hook sung in its entirety right at the death. It’s the musical equivalent of tantric sex. The entirely skip-proof collection also features the singer’s gorgeous, long-lined phrasing in ‘Another Star’, a delightful, gently swinging waltz-time version of ‘Visions’ complete with harmonica solo courtesy of Andy Hamill (who contributes the robust and singing bass lines). Murphy’s wonderfully rich timbre and warm vibrato are heard to especially telling effect on the lyrical riches of slower material such as ‘Heaven Help Us All’, ‘Seems So Long’, and ‘They Won’t Go When I Go’. Murphy herself contributes the fine original ‘Timeless’ (co-composed with Steve Lodder), an affectionate autobiographical account of a young girl growing up in the 1980s Belfast and her response to hearing the music of Wonder for the first time. If you haven’t heard Murphy yet, then 'Wonderous Visions' – her second album – should definitely make it on to your wish list.

 

09/03/2012 Jack Massarik, London's Evening Standard

The songs of Stevie Wonder have inspired a generation of jazz musicians. Singers, awed by his vocal abandon, generally keep a respectful distance but true devotees are beginning to declare themselves, and none more lovingly than Orla Murphy. Tall and tender, with a deep well of bittersweet Irish blues in her voice, the Belfast-born diva delivers 10 Stevie classics with real feeling and a laid-back elegance. Visions, Big Brother and Too High (a prophetic epitaph for Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston) are particularly fine, and her own song, 'Timeless', is a neat overview of her mentor’s career. Her group catches the spirit, particularly pianists Jonathan Gee, Aron Ottignon and bassist Andy Hamill, whose soulful harmonica solo on Visions is truly a thing of Wonder.

 

07/10/2011 Brian Soundy's showcase of 'Wonderous Visions' on UK Jazz Radio (October 2011)

'Orla's dark rich voice is a breath of fresh air for me, with so many female Vocalists trying to break into the jazz scene...Her voice is a great mixture of soul, jazz and blues...a dark brown voice...the more I listen to this album, the better it gets...'

 

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