Lee Morgan

Morgan 1Lee Morgan was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1938. He was a leading trumpeter and composer recording prolifically from 1956 until 1972. He started playing the trumpet at 13 and his primary stylistic influence was Clifford Brown, with whom he took a few lessons as a teenager. His other major influences included Fats Navarro and Dizzy Gillespie. He joined the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band at age 18 and remained a member for a year and a half until 1958. He began recording for Blue Note Records in 1956, eventually recording 25 albums as a leader for the company. He was also a featured sideman on several early Hank Mobley records. His playing was technically, melodically, and harmonically advanced. The record buying public and audiences were receptive to his powerful style that exuded the essence of hard bop.

Lee Morgan - Episode 1

CompositionArtistAlbumYear
The SidewinderLee MorganThe Sidewinder1963
NostalgiaFats Navarro1947
The Blues WalkClifford BrownStudy in Brown1955
Things to ComeDizzy Gillespie Big Band1946
Hank’s ShoutLee Morgan/Hank MobleyIntroducing Lee Morgan1956
Latin HangoverLee MorganLee Morgan Vol.21956

Lee Morgon - Episode 2

In 1957 Lee continued his busy recording session appearing on many Blue Note releases including John Coltrane's album Blue Train. Joining Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in 1958 helped further develop his talent as a soloist and composer. He toured with Art Blakey for a few years, and was featured on numerous albums by the Messengers, including Moanin', which is one of the band's best-known recordings. When Benny Golson left the Jazz Messengers, Morgan persuaded Blakey to hire Wayne Shorter, a young tenor saxophonist and composer, to fill the vacancy.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
The Way You Look TonightLee Morgan/Johnny GriffinA Blowing Session1957
Blue TrainLee Morgan/John ColtraneBlue Train1957
Moment’s NoticeLee Morgan/John ColtraneBlue Train1957
Just One of Those ThingsLee MorganThe Cooker1957
Since If Fell For YouLee MorganThe Cooker1957
Moanin’Lee Morgan/Art BlakeyMoanin’1958
Along Came BettyLee Morgan/Art BlakeyMoanin’1958

Lee Morgan - Episode 3

On this podcast I pick up with Lee Morgan’s musical activities in 1959 and 1960. With the addition of Wayne Shorter to Art Blakey’s Messengers the sound of the group began to change with the new compositions Wayne brought to the band. Shorter was using unusual harmonies and forms which affected the way Lee Morgan was approaching improvisation. He also recorded a number of outstanding tracks on the Vee-Jay label with Wayne Shorter. After Morgan left the Messengers in 1961 he did not record as prolifically as he had done the previous 3 years. In 1963 he performed with Grachan Moncur and Jackie McLean on the album Evolution. This signaled a new phase for Morgan’s musical development and career.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
Lester Left TownLee Morgan/Art BlakeyAfricaine1959
Paper MoonLee Morgan/Art BlakeyBig Beat1960
ExpoobidentLee MorganExpoobident1960
AfriqueLee Morgan/Art BlakeyWitch Doctor1961
Kozo’s WaltzLee Morgan/Art BlakeyNight in Tunisia1960
Monk in WonderlandLee Morgan/Grachan MoncurEvolution1963

Lee Morgan - Episode 4

On returning to New York in 1963, he recorded The Sidewinder which became his greatest commercial success. Due to the crossover success of "The Sidewinder" in a rapidly changing pop music market, Blue Note Records encouraged its artists to emulate the tune's dance-like back beat. As successful as the Sidewinder was Morgan felt that his playing was much more advanced on the Evolution album, recorded a month earlier. After this commercial success, Morgan continued to record prolifically, releasing close to twenty additional albums as a leader in the 1960’s. In addition Morgan appeared as a sideman on some excellent albums lead by Wayne Shorter, Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, Hank Mobley, Jackie McLean, Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Lonnie Smith, Elvin Jones, Larry Young, and several more albums with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
The SidewinderLee MorganThe Sidewinder1963
Mr. KenyattaLee MorganSearch for the New Land1964
Search New LandLee MorganSearch for the New Land1964
Night DreamerLee Morgan/Wayne ShorterNight Dreamer1964
Go to My HeadLee MorganGigolo1965
Our Man HigginsLee MorganCornbread1965
CeoraLee MorganCornbread1965