Lee Morgan: The Rumproller – Jazz Journal

Rumprollerhere in a new vinyl reissue, was the sequel to Lee Morgan’s 1963 hit album The Sidewinder. Sidewinder actually reached number 35 in Billboard‘s Top 100 and Blue Note could barely keep up with the demand. It became his best-selling LP and Sidewinder was used on the soundtrack of an automobile advertising campaign making a big difference to his personal finances. As Leonard Feather said, “It became a happy occasion for good music”. Although only sideman at the time with Art Blakey, the poster quickly becomes “Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers featuring Lee Morgan”.

Rumproller has the same instrumentation and Alfred Lion of Blue Note was keen to reproduce the Sidewinder Hit. Andrew Hill was asked to compose an original with a similar rhythmic feel and Rumproller comes quite close with its boogaloo rhythm with the same extended blues structure – 24 bars instead of 12. Hill was associated with the burgeoning avant-garde movement but he had worked as a young man with Paul Williams’ hugely popular R&B group. His Rumproller has all the right soul jazz elements reflected in the backing vocals of Morgan and Joe Henderson.

The leader’s powerfully exuberant sound, very much in the mold of Clifford Brown, is a delight throughout, especially on his own Eclipso and The Lady (dedicated to Billie Holiday) where his use of a harmon mute adds to the drama. and the intensity of his performance. Joe Henderson, who was also on the Sidewinder date, is an ideal foil and is mightily impressive on Desert Moonlight and Wayne Shorter’s Edda.

Biography of Jeffery S. McMillan on Lee Morgan – Delicious – alludes to some difficulties that arose on the date but these issues are not apparent on a reissue that can be recommended.

The Rumproller; desert moonlight; Eclipso; Edda; The Lady (41.40)

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lee-morgan-the-rumproller“Rumproller, here in a new vinyl reissue, was the sequel to Lee Morgan’s hit 1963 album The Sidewinder”