Clifford Murphy, icon and legendary bassist in the group, The Murphy’s, was a major influence in both the local and international jazz communities. He played with some of the best musicians in the business including Claude Black, Ray Brown, Jon Hendricks, Kenny Burrell, Joe Henderson, and Wynton Marsalis.
Joan Russell, Clifford Murphy’s partner for 38 years, a music producer in her own right and the business manager of Murphy’s Place, was instrumental in transforming it into a club nationally known as the place that “everyone who was anyone” wanted to play.
Neighborhood Health Association/ The City of Toledo will honor jazz icons Clifford Murphy and Joan Russell by renaming the corner of Jefferson and Summit in their honor. The street, to be called Murphy’s Place, is located on the same block and carries the same name as the club that came to be known for its first-class jazz, the mentoring of young musicians and for being the stomping ground for some of the best musicians in the business.
In addition to its national visitors, Murphy’s Place regularly hosted Toledo jazz marvels like Jean Holden, Ramona Collins, Glenda Biddestone, Damon Cook and Lori Lefevre to name a few. Those who aspired to be performers could be found there, learning from the areas best and honing their skills as well.
“There are those people who almost instinctively know how to inspire others, to make them know that they can do anything. Joan and Clifford were those people. Murphy’s Place was this warm and wonderful place where the love of music was the great equalizer. It is critical that we remember and honor those who have contributed to the growth of this community in such a profound way” said Doni Miller who, along with local musician Scott Potter, organized the event.
The street renaming will occur at the corner of Summit and Jefferson at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 17, 2022. An afterparty featuring performances by a number of local musicians will be held that evening at TolHouse, 1447 Summit St. in Toledo, Ohio.
Toledo City Councilwoman Vanice Williams will present the families of Clifford and Joan with Resolutions in honor of their contributions to local and national jazz culture.