Since Lee Morgan is my favorite Jazz Trumpet player, I have organized a multi-part series of podcasts.This is my personal tribute to him and I have named it “The Lee Morgan Project.” This here particular post and podcast will be Part One and concentrates on his first 8 albums. It ranges from 1956 to 1958. He was very talented, as Blue Note records took a chance on him at the ripe age of 18. He died at the young age of 33 in New York City when he was shot dead in a club where he was performing. It was the beginning of a new era in music when we lost him, the 70′s were here and he was making his transformation into a new sound. We only were able to get a tiny taste of it and it was strong. One thing is for sure, he was a traditionalist and he would had never abandoned his roots like many other artist did. He did manage to record 30 albums in his short career and this the “Lee Morgan Project” will serve as an introduction to all. I hope everyone will realize how great he was but I’m sure you will.
Note to all new readers of the Cubanology MediaBlog: All the podcasts are located in the beginning and end of the post. I suggest opening up the podcast by clicking on “Play in new window” so you can scroll through the post itself and visit the links and/or go on with your business and listen in the background. Thank you and enjoy!
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Here’s Lee Morgan’s biography:
Lee Morgan was a stalwart of the driving jazz-meets-funk-meets-blues grooves produced by Blue Note in the 1960′s. A flashy player of enormous technique and invention, he became the natural successor to Clifford Brown, emerging on the jazz scene shortly after Brownie’s death in 1956. Morgan quickly developed his own style, fusing classic bebop motifs with more modern rhythms, harmonies and melodies. Born in Philadelphia on July 10, 1938, he began his trumpet studies with a private instructor, and continued them at Mastbaum High School for the Arts, where he also played the alto horn. A fan of jazz from an early age, he was exposed to a wide variety of live music in the vibrant Philadelphia music scene, which had produced such notables as John Coltrane, Benny Golson, the Heath brothers, and many others……. Read More
1st Set (6 Songs):
(1956) 1. ” Reggie of Chester” and 2. “The Lady” From the Lee Morgan “Indeed!” CD Album
More on this Album:
A gem of an early album from Lee Morgan – quite different than his work as a leader for the Savoy label during the same period! Although Morgan’s only a wee lad at the time, the album’s got an incredible sense of warmth and imagination – one that’s steeped in lessons learned from Horace Silver and Art Blakey, and played with a style that’s as richly expressive as it is soulful – a no-nonsense, no-tricks approach to the trumpet…..Read More
(1956) 3. “Bet” and 4. “P.S. I Love You” From the “Introducing Lee Morgan” CD Album
Young upstart Lee Morgan was earning his chops in Dizzy Gillespie’s big band (the cover shows Morgan playing the famous “tilted trumpet”) at the time of this recording. While his style was not yet fully formed here, Morgan dazzles with his stream of inventive ideas. On uptempo numbers, such as the opener “Hank’s Shout,” he alternates staccato bursts with eighth-note runs, and punctuates with subtle swing figures and mild shifts in dynamics. On slower numbers, like “P.S. , I Love You,” “That’s All” and “Easy Living,” he displays a rich, open tone and a gentle handling of melody…..Learn More
(1957) 5. “Whisper Not” and 6. “Where Am I” From “The Lee Morgan Sextet Vol 2” CD Album
More from the CD:
Recorded in 1956, LEE MORGAN VOL. 2 was one of the trumpeter’s first dates for Blue Note, and shows off plenty of the musician’s chops (which were especially formidable given Morgan’s tender age at the time). The hard-swinging personnel includes Horace Silver on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, Hank Mobley on tenor, Charlie Persip on drums, and Kenny Rodgers on alto, and the compositions, penned primarily by Benny Golson, are engaging, accessible post-bop of the first rank. The Rudy Van Gelder remastering on the CD reissue makes it especially sweet…..Learn More
7.“I Remember Clifford” and 8.“Tip-Toeing” From the Lee Morgan “Vol 3” CD Album.
About the CD:
This 1957 session from trumpeter Lee Morgan, which dates among his earliest recordings for Blue Note, is an excellent post-bop album. The compositions by Benny Golson (who also plays tenor on the date) are streamlined and accessible, yet are still complex and full of challenging ideas. Morgan shows off his nimble technique, and is ably assisted by Gigi Gryce on alto, Wynton Kelly on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Charlie Persip on drums. The CD reissue of this solid disc, complete with Rudy Van Gelder remastering, is very welcome……Learn More
About the song “I Remember Clifford” (From by Paula Edelstein, All Music.com):
“I Remember Clifford” is a tender ballad written by Benny Golson in 1956 and is a homage to the hard bop jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown. The song pays the composer’s respect to “Brownie” who was killed in a car crash in June 1956 along with pianist Richie Powell, a member of the Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet. The song appears on over 100 albums and CDs and has been recorded by such jazz luminaries as Stan Getz, Dinah Washington — former bandmember of Clifford Brown — the tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, pianist Oscar Peterson, Woody Herman, Quincy Jones, Arturo Sandoval, and Ernestine Anderson. There are actually two different versions of the song: one an instrumental and one with lyrics added by noted songwriter Jon Hendricks. The latter has been included on at least seven albums since 1959 and tells the story of the warmth of Clifford Brown’s trumpet tones, his phrasings, and the songs he played. The song ends with the composer/lyricist thinking he cannot fathom the trumpeter as departed and will always remember him. The version with lyrics features two verses with chorus and a section for improvising instrumental solos. The instrumental version features sections for an emotive woodwind, brass, or piano and is underscored by a sensitive rhythm section. It is written in standard jazz compositional structure: head in, solo, head out. Later versions of the song include one by Sonny Rollins, an instrumental, included on his 2000 compilation entitled The Best of Sonny Rollins: The Complete RCA Recordings, as well as a vocal rendition by Ernestine Anderson on her 2000 compilation for Concord Jazz entitled Ballad Essentials.
13. “C.T.A” and 14. “Personality” From the “Candy” CD Album
More on the CD:
Recorded on November 18, 1957 & February 2, 1958. Includes liner notes by Robert Levin & Michael Cuscuna.
A seminal figure in the golden age of Blue Note records, Lee Morgan was the definition of the ’50s post-bop trumpet style and sound. His album CANDY from 1958 is a quintissential document of the easy swing and tight ensemble work that was prominant before the onset of hard-bop and free-jazz of the ’60s. Morgan’s nimble lines and smooth sound contrast perfectly with drummer Art Taylor’s jumping solo spots in the opening title track. The bluesy ballad “Since I Fell For You” is just smokey and subtle enough to melt even the coldest heart. Jimmy Heath’s “C.T.A.” and Irving Berlin’s “Who Do You Love, I Hope” are nice-and-quick workouts that find pianist Sonny Clarke and bassist Doug Watkins in perfect sync with Taylor in support of their agil leader. For Sinatra fans, Morgan’s reading of the classic “All The Way” is a beautiful interpretation that would make Old Blue Eyes smile. Overall, this is a golden snapshot of one of the most stylish trumpeters in jazz……Read More
15. “Speak Low” and 16. “Git Go Blues” From the “Peckin’ Time” CD Album
About this Album:
Hank Mobley’s PECKIN’ TIME is a classic bop date featuring heavyweight talent. Besides the obvious abilities of the leader, most notable here is a still very young Lee Morgan on trumpet. The jubilant Morgan, at this time a rising star yet to hit his stride, makes an exquisite partner for the bluesy Mobley, one of the most underrated tenor men in jazz. Rounding out the quintet is the rhythm section of pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, and the often-overlooked drummer Charlie Persip.
As the title suggests, PECKIN’ has the spirit of a blowing session with a hefty amount of up-tempo rousers. The bopping opener “High and Flighty” gets things kicking with frenzied ensemble work and hard-blowing solos. The only standard of the set is the classic “Speak Low,” here presented as a bouncing rhumba with exceptionally lyrical contributions by Morgan. The swinging title track and the aptly titled burner “Stretchin’ Out” both offer more opportunities for all to display their wares with plenty of hard bop gusto. Finally, “Git-Go Blues” closes the session with a long, rolling groove that swings hard and deep. Also included are three alternate takes that offer even more blowing and swinging…..Read More
Here’s the Podcast:
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Lee Morgan PART TWOClick on Image and go to “Part Two” or go here
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