Margaret Murphy-Webb is a Chicago based jazz musician, educator, producer, and arts 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 playing piano and singing in church, as did most of her peers, at the age of nine. 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.
As a bandleader, Margaret was nicknamed the “Queen of 75th Street” while she honed her performance skills in the many jazz clubs located on the famous strip between Cottage Grove and State Street. As the years went by, she spread her talents throughout the city. Margaret has been showcased at the Navy Pier Beer Garden, Chicago Lake Michigan Cruise Ships, the Chicago Jazz and Blues Festivals, music venues and festivals in Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Ohio. As one of the Eleven Jazz Divas of Chicago, Margaret performed at the African Festival of The Arts. She 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.
In 2007, Margaret released her debut CD entitled, “In Full Bloom.” RadioIndy certified the CD as Gold for outstanding production and she also received an award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance for her duet with husband, legendary bassist Chuck Webb for their cover of “Pearls.” This haunting ballad, written by songstress Sade, brings attention to the African food crisis. In 2021, Margaret with dancer Simone Stevens of Cerqua Rivera Theater, received The Regina Taylor Mixed Tape award for their duet "Culture Loop,” a performance dedicated to African American girls finding their way in American culture.
In 2016, Margaret saw the need for more free arts events on the south side and founded The South Side Jazz Coalition. Margaret has received awards from Global Girls, Metropolitan Services, BIBO and The South Shore Drill Team for her work in presenting free programs and creating intergenerational programs for musicians. In 2018, Margaret was named Chicago’s Jazz Hero by the Jazz Journalists of America for her work in continuing the legacy of south side jazz.
Margaret was appointed co-chair for the Year of Chicago Music 2020-21 initiative sponsored by DCASE and in January 2020, she was appointed to the City of Chicago Cultural Council. Margaret is a member of the Chicago Peace Fellows, an international group dedicated to providing culture, community service and arts activism to under-served communities.