Margaret Murphy-Webb is a Chicago based jazz musician, educator, producer and advocate. A graduate of Chicago State University with a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance, this award-winning international performer has been showcasing her talent in the Chicago area for over thirty years. Margaret began singing in church at a young age as did most of her peers and began voice training and piano lessons at age 9. As a teenager working in her father’s record shop, a recording by the legendary Carmen McRae piqued her interest in jazz. At age 20, Margaret began attending the Tuesday night jam sessions run by Chicago tenor saxophone great Von Freeman and under his tutelage developed her unique vocal style and showmanship. As the vocalist for the Von Freeman Quartet, Margaret performed at The Taste of Chicago, The Jazz Showcase, The Chicago Jazz Festival, Andy's, The Green Mill and many popular Chicago venues.
Working as bandleader, Margaret was nicknamed the “Queen of 75th Street” as she began performing in the many jazz clubs located on the famous strip between Cottage Grove and Indiana Avenue. As the years went by, she spread her talents throughout the city and beyond: Navy Pier Beer Garden, Chicago Lake Michigan Cruise Ships, the Chicago Jazz and Blues Festivals, music fests in Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Ohio, countless neighborhood festivals and citywide jazz venues.
Margaret is one of Chicago’s “11 Jazzy Divas” has toured Germany and France, performed for both Presidents Obama and Clinton and opened for jazz pianists Joe Sample, Chick Corea and the legendary Tower of Power at The House of Blues. In 2007, Margaret released her debut CD entitled, “In Full Bloom.” RadioIndy certified the CD as Gold for outstanding production and Margaret received the 2007 award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance for her rendition of “Pearls,” a haunting ballad on the African food crisis, by Sade.
Margaret has received awards from Global Girls, Metropolitan Services and The South Shore Drill Team for her work in mentoring and inspiring young vocalists and musicians. In 2018, Margaret was named Chicago’s Jazz Hero by the Jazz Journalists of America for her work in jazz as Founder and Executive Director of the non-profit organization, The South Side Jazz Coalition. The SSJC produces free live music performances throughout culturally deprived neighborhoods on Chicago’s south side. Margaret is also using her talents for education as a choir and piano instructor for the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Margaret is a co-chair for the Year of Chicago Music 2020 initiative sponsored by DCASE and in January 2020, she was appointed to the City of Chicago Cultural Council. Though advocacy and mentoring are keeping Margaret busy, her first love will always be singing straight ahead jazz. You can catch her show with pianist Charlie Johnson on Saturdays at Benny’s Chop House in downtown Chicago where she has performed for two years as the house vocalist.