Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lee Morgan

For some reason I am in a Lee Morgan mood tonight.  I have mentioned Morgan occasionally, but I don't think I have devoted a post to him.  High time, squire!  I got to know Morgan mostly from his work with the Jazz Messengers.  I am very fond of his most popular album, Sidewinder, but I have said that Search for the New Land was his magnum opus.  The Gigolo, an attempt to repeat the commercial success of Sidewinder, is worth a listen, as is Candy.  I can also recommend The Young Lions

Whenever I think of Morgan, I think of two things.  One is that he recommend Wayne Shorter as a replacement for Benny Golson when Golson left the Messengers.  That, I think, was a great contribution to modern jazz.  The second thing is that Morgan's girlfriend/wife shot him through the heart at Slugg's jazz club in NYC in 1972.  Morgan was 33.  I wonder if she ever had any idea what she was putting a bullet into the heart of?  

Morgan was a bit frustrated about his great success with Sidewinder.  He thought his best work at the time was on Grachan Moncur III's Evolution.  I concur.  I blogged about Moncur recently.  Having listened to a lot of Morgan tonight, his work on Evolution is more serious.  Here is a sample:
Grachan Moncur III/Air Raid/Evolution.
And here is a sample from Morgan's 1957 album.  
Lee Morgan/Since I For You/Candy
 Enjoy.  Purchase. 


  1. Yes, high time, squire. I have a Lee Morgan channel on Pandora and, while perhaps not my favorite, Live at the Lighthouse has a fairly constant place in the ever changing content of my iPod. I admit, though, I've never heard Evolution and wasn't aware of Moncur. Could be because I'm not a free jazz fan but what a lineup on that LP!

    If you haven't read it already, you might enjoy Tom Perchard's book, Lee Morgan: His Life, Music and Culture.

  2. I keep drifting back to your great site every month or three - don't stop! I picked up your 'down-ness' and felt a bit guilty regarding a lack of feedback so apologies and thanks for the thoughtful posts. I also love Morgan (and yes, fully recommend Perchard's book). He still had much to give and his murder was a loss to jazz.
    Keep up the good work!

  3. I came across this last night. You ask if she had any idea what she was putting a bullet into the heart of...

    i'd like to think she did.