Turk Murphy

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Turk Murphy
Background information
Birth nameMelvin Edward Alton Murphy
Born(1915-12-16)December 16, 1915
Palermo, California, U.S.
DiedMay 30, 1987(1987-05-30) (aged 71)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
GenresTraditional jazz, Dixieland jazz
Occupation(s)Musician, singer, bandleader
Turk Murphy Lane in San Francisco

Melvin Edward Alton "Turk" Murphy (December 16, 1915 – May 30, 1987)[1] was an American trombonist and bandleader, who played traditional and Dixieland jazz.


He was born in Palermo, California, United States.[1] Murphy served in the Navy during World War II, during which he played and recorded with Lu Watters and Bunk Johnson.[1] In 1952, he headed Turk Murphy's Jazz Band,[1] 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, Robert Schulz began an eight-year stint with the band. Other notable band members included trumpeters Don Kinch and Leon Oakley; pianists Pete Clute, Don Keeler, and Ray Skjelbred; banjoist Carl Lunsford, tuba and trombonist Bill Carroll, singers Pat Yankee and Jimmy Stanislaw.[2]

Murphy was the singer for the 1971 Sesame Street cartoon shorts, "The Alligator King" and "No. 9 Martian Beauty". They were animated and produced by his friend Bud Luckey. Murphy arranged and performed on many of Luckey's other Sesame Street animated shorts. He was friend of 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 McGoon's,[3] which opened in 1960 and moved three times before closing in 1984. In January 1987, he played Carnegie Hall.[3] He died on May 30, 1987.[1]


  • 1950 San Francisco Jazz, Vol. 1 (Good Time Jazz)
  • 1950 In Hollywood
  • 1951 San Francisco Jazz, Vol. 2 (Good Time Jazz)
  • 1952 Turk Murphy with Claire Austin (Good Time Jazz)
  • 1953 Barrelhouse Jazz (Columbia)
  • 1954 When the Saints Go Marching In (Columbia)
  • 1954 Music of Jelly Roll Morton (Columbia)
  • 1955 Dancing Jazz (Columbia)
  • 1956 New Orleans Jazz Festival (Columbia)
  • 1957 New Orleans Shuffle (Columbia)
  • 1957 George Lewis & Turk Murphy at Newport (Verve)
  • 1957 Music for Losers (Verve)
  • 1958 Turk Murphy at Easy Street (Verve)
  • 1958 Live at Easy Street, Vol. 1 (Dawn Club)
  • 1959 Turk Murphy at the Round Table (Roulette)
  • 1959 Music for Wise Guys and Boosters (Roulette)
  • 1962 Let the Good Times Roll
  • 1972 In Concert, Vol. 1 (GHB)
  • 1972 Turk Murphy and His San Francisco Jazz Band, Vol. 2 (GHB)
  • 1972 In Concert, Vol. 2 (GHB)
  • 1972 Turk Murphy (GHB)
  • 1972 Turk Murphy and His San Francisco Jazz Band, Vol. 1 (GHB)
  • 1972 Turk Murphy's Jazz Band (Merrymakers)
  • 1973 Frisco Jazz Band, Live! (MPS)
  • 1973 The Earthquake McGoon Recordings (Merrymakers)
  • 1980 A Natural High (Bainbridge)
  • 1986 Concert in the Park (Merrymakers)
  • 1986 San Francisco Memories (Merrymakers)
  • 1986 Southern Stomps (Lake)
  • 1987 Turk at Carnegie (Stomp Off)
  • 1995 San Francisco Jazz (Merrymakers)
  • 1995 Turk Murphy's San Francisco Jazz Band (Merrymakers)
  • 1995 Sentimental Journeys (Merrymakers)
  • 1995 Live from the Rathskellar, Vol. 2 (Merrymakers)
  • 1995 Live from the Rathskellar, Vol. 1 (Merrymakers)
  • 1998 Live at Carson Hot Springs
  • 2000 Recorded Live at the Cinegrill: 1950
  • 2006 Turk's DeLight (Jasmine)[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. pp. 1781/2. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  2. ^ Shaw, Lew (1 September 2018). "Turk Murphy's Respect for the Past". The Syncopated Times. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  3. ^ a b Wilson, John S. (9 January 1987). "Turk Murphy to Perform at Carnegie". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Turk Murphy | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 December 2016.

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