Lee Morgan, Here’s Lee Morgan

Ed Ward

By Ed Ward

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Here's Lee Morgan

Lee Morgan
State-of-the-art hard bop circa 1960.

Vee-Jay's jazz catalogue was never taken as seriously by the white jazz cognoscenti as was Blue Note's or Prestige's, possibly because they never bothered to market it to that audience, preferring to present it as black popular music — which, lest we forget today, it absolutely was. And while Vee-Jay's jazz output was dwarfed by blues and soul, it was of remarkably high quality, offering talented sidemen opportunities as leaders. Here, the red-hot young trumpeter Lee Morgan, long a mainstay of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, comes to the fore, leading a band comprised of Clifford Jordan on tenor, Wynton Kelly on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Blakey on drums. It's state-of-the-art hard bop circa 1960, and the playing is just as accomplished as you'd expect from this lineup of stars. Alternate takes added to the reissue just enhance the pleasure.