Turk Murphy

~ Person


Melvin Edward Alton "Turk" Murphy (December 16, 1915 in Palermo, California – May 30, 1987 in San Francisco, California) was renowned as a trombonist and bandleader who played traditional and Dixieland jazz in San Francisco.

Murphy served in the Navy during World War II, during which he played and recorded with Lu Watters and Bunk Johnson. In 1952, he headed Turk Murphy's Jazz Band, which included pianist Wally Rose, clarinetist Bob Helm, banjoist Dick Lammi, and tubaist Bob Short. They played at the Italian Village at Columbus and Lombard in San Francisco's North Beach. The band appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show twice, in 1959 and 1965. In 1979 Bob Schulz began an eight-year stint with the band. Other notable band members included trumpeters Don Kinch, Bob Short, and Leon Oakley; pianists Pete Clute and Ray Skjelbred; banjo player Carl Lunsford, tuba and trombone player Bill Carroll, singers Pat Yankee and Jimmy Stanislaw.

Murphy was the singer for the 1971 Sesame Street cartoon shorts, "The Alligator King" and "#9 Martian Beauty" animated and produced by his long-time friend, animator Bud Luckey. Murphy also arranged and performed on many of Luckey's other Sesame Street animated shorts. Murphy was a long-time friend of fellow trombonist and Disney animator Ward Kimball who created many memorable caricatures of Murphy and Charles Addams creator of the Addams Family.

Murphy's band played his nightclub, Earthquake McGoons, which opened in 1960 and moved three times, from 99 Broadway to 630 Clay in 1964, the Embarcadero in 1979 and Pier 39 in 1983, before closing in 1984.

In January 1987, Murphy played Carnegie Hall. He died on May 30, 1987, leaving behind his wife Harriet and their son Carson. He is buried at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park, Colma, San Mateo County, California.

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Year Title RatingReleases
1957 New Orleans Shuffle 1

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Year Title RatingReleases
Turk Murphy's Jazz Band Favorites 1

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