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The Gigolo by Lee Morgan

Lee Morgan - Jazz Impresario Extroadinaire!What is there left to say about Lee? All I can do is add to the legend. Professional at the age of 15. First trumpet in the Dizzie Gillespie band at age 17 (had to 'fake it to make it" age wise in order to tour with Diz). First release - "Introducing Lee Morgan (age 19 Savoy Records,Hi-Fi, MG-12091 (11-5-56).Once you sit, sip, and listen to anything featuring Lee as front man or side man, you're hooked! Born July 10, 1937 in Philadelphia, PA.If a resume were to be put together on Lee, his "bragging rights" would include famous names such as Hank Mobley, Hank Jones, Doug Watkins, Art Taylor, Wayne Shorter, Art Blakey, Billy Higgins, Cedar Walton, Bob Cranshaw, Jimmy Smith, Diz, 'Trane, Harold Mabern, Jr. and not to forget the ever impressionable Clifford Brown, a personal friend, tutor, and mentor whom Lee unselfishly lets everyone know is the catalyst and reason Lee Morgan is Lee Morgan. Though he never actually performed with Brownie, he was quick to say, "Brownie taught me everything I know about the horn, phrasing, timing, originality!"This album, The Gigolo consists of 4 original Morgan tunes opening with "Yes I Can, No You Can't", a light be-bop tune with a catchy backbeat that when listened to, makes you want to grab your favorite girl and do the "bop"! For those of you who don't know, the "bop" is a ballroom dance popularizd in the late 40's thru 60's that consisted of twirling, spins, and fancy footwork often improvised on the spur of the moment. It's most popular form could often be seen on "American Bandstand" in the Mid to Late "50's to mid '60's. "Trapped", a very intense, high blood pressure melody, displays Lee's propensity to really stretch out and blow those 64th notes right off the map! A truly high intensity, upbeat jazz piece that features Wayne Shorter at his best. To quote Wayne, he was truly "scrambling the eggs" on this one, not to mention pushing Lee to go him one better (he did!) "SpeedBall", light, bouncy, yet a dark testimonial to Lee's propensity and cross addition to heroin and cocaine, a habit that eventually would be a key factor in his premature death "Speedball" is a combination of Heroin and Cocaine mixed together, when injected gives the recipient a euphoric rush (cocaine) and sense of calm (heroin) simultaneously. To keep the record straight, Lee, thank God, did not die from an overdose of either drug, as a matter of fact, he was almost two years drug free and on the road to a comeback, when an argument and breaking off of a relationship with a "lady friend" culminated in his death on stage while performing in New York. She shot him three times after he told her he was leaving her. "The Gigolo" - Listening to this young genius, you can hear the major influences in his artisty, "Brownie", "Diz", "Fats" Navarro, and when he "chops his notes" or displays those "fast flurry staccato's" he was famous for, particularly on his extended solo, it is hard to mis-interpret the message. Wayne Shorter makes an opening statement, that the listener feels is an "invitation to conversation", Lee replies non-chalantly, then the two of them seem to "go at it" not to show up one another as far as who's the baddest so much as, who's "scrambling the eggs?""You Go To My Head" is played as a tribute to his teacher, mentor, and neighbor, Clifford Brown. Listening to Lee's melancholy, soulful, yet sad rendition is almost like he is crying out to Clifford how much he misses him and Dinah (Washington) too! Probably, the most famous version of "You Go To My Head" is the Clifford Brown/Dinah Washington version on "Dinah Jams" EmArcy MG-30000 (8-14-54).So there you have it! Lee at his best!Chappy

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Lee Morgan
  • CD Title: The Gigolo
  • Genre: Other
  • Year Released: 1965
  • Record Label: Unknown
  • Rating: Four Stars
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