Lee Morgan: This is Lee Morgan

Although historically the music on this album doesn’t carry the dawn of hard bop, it always felt like it. Morgan and Shorter were his first vocals in Blakey’s quintet. Art was a diviner when it came to creative players, and in Morgan and Shorter he hit the jackpot. Tragically, he also introduced Morgan to hard drugs and destroyed his life. The originality and creativity of the two men are expressed here in an exciting way. The (3) tracks snuck in here on an obscure Top Rank album and I considered them at the time to be the epitome of post-Parker jazz.

Lee was not a complex improviser, but he had an arsenal of devices and tricks, often involving acrobatics and rushing valves, that made him unique. Shorter was a deeper musician, headed for a long career of greatness that thankfully still unfolds today. In the 60s, the sounds he produced resembled, despite their intense musicality, the cries of animals and it seemed that, if he was in some way in parallel with Coltrane, he was also breaking new ground that John n had not found. Wynton Kelly was at his best, both as an improviser and as a very firm accompanist. It’s refreshing to have Bobby Timmons (another of Blakey’s greats, similarly destroyed as Morgan) and Eddie Higgins in the different combinations. Blakey steps away from his sidemen and, as with Philly Joe, his presence is pervasive rather than dominating.

Familiarity with the (3) tracks makes me lean towards them, but in truth, there isn’t a missed moment in the entire CD. It’s not just Miles who thrived during the kind of blue time. The music here is vital and energetic, and the burgeoning creators are remarkably accomplished.

Discography
CD1: (1) Terrible ‘T’; Mogia; I’m crazy to want you; Running Stream; Offspring; Besse; (2) expoobident; Easy life; Triple track; Fire; just in time ; The hearing; Lost and Found (69.34)
CD2: (3) Wrinkles; Mom ‘G’; June night; What to Know; Sydney; (4) Seeds of sin; scour’; fat lady; Peaches and Cream; It’s true (70.53)
Morgan