Fresh off a killer DJ set at Coachella and a live performance at the Spin magazine house in Palm Springs, “sexy asshole” Jesse Murphy seems to have the Midas touch. Bassist in the culturally exotic-sounding Brazilian Girls, Jesse grew up in a deeply musical home. While raising him in the lazy California surf town of Santa Cruz, his parents took him to see jazz greats Tony Williams, Herbie Hancock and Ron Carter at a young age.
He explains, “My parents were into jazz and classical music, so I kind of grew up around that stuff. I took music lessons—studied the flute and piano and guitar, I played the tuba.” Jesse played in reggae, ska and punk-rock bands before he studied music at USC’s prestigious Interlocken and played in orchestras for about six years or so before moving to New York where he got into the jazz scene in the early 1990s.
About five years ago, he started jamming with Ersahin and Kenny Walleson (of Tom Waits) at their club—New York’s hugely popular, culturally diverse Nublu. The three formed the Love Trio, which Murphy explains was, “live, improvised house kind of mentality—musical ideas and themes that we would use were more about drums and rhythm and kind of that DJ consistency.”
Soon after, Murphy started jamming at Nublu with his longtime friend Didi Gutman (keyboards). Didi met and invited drummer Aaron Johnston and the super-sexy vocalist Sabina Sciubba to play with them, and after playing together live, weekend after weekend, the Brazilian Girls were born.
Murphy says he started DJing along with Aaron and Didi as ADJ. “I always liked to spin records, but one of the original ideas was with the Brazilian Girls we would always go out at night, and it was kind of like, ‘Well, we’re hanging out, let’s spin some music that we like and hang out, and it can kind of tag along with Brazilian Girls.’”
About his upcoming Chicago show, Murphy says, “On this run, I’m more selecting—I will mash up stuff sometimes, but it’s more like selecting. I play everything from minimal German stuff, and Fela Kuti, and I play some classic stuff too like hip-hop.” (Hilary Rawk)
Jesse Murphy, with Nando and Cedeno at Smart Bar, 3730 North Clark, (773)549-0203, May 3, 10pm. No cover before midnight, $10 after.