Born in Naples, Italy, in 1963, he, unfortuneately, lost his left hand at the age of four. Nevertheless, he learned to play guitar and bass before switching to trumpet at age 15. After performing jazz in Italy, he came to Los Angeles in 1985, where he further studied jazz and scored a gig with Cedar Walton.
He came to New York in 1990 and began performing with the likes of David Sanchez, Billy Hart and Mark Turner. Having recorded with such as Steve Turre and Norah Jones, Morgera cut his first release under his name in 2005, The Voice Within. In his new CD, he brings together a group who perform a wide range of music, from pensive melodies to vocals pieces varying from plaintively lovely to delightfully eccentric. On all, Morgera’s beautiful sound and virtuosity stand out.
The backbone of this recording is provided by his regular quartet, Joe Ashlar piano and keyboards, Greg August, bass, and Bruce Cox, drums. On various tracks, he adds a guest, including three distinct vocalists. He evens sings himself on the last number in a casual bossa nova style.
Morgera states in album notes that his first influence was Chet Baker. We can hear this in his spare melodic solo on "Si Fa Sera" which is matched by Antonio Barbera’s smokey vocal. Another great, Miles Davis, comes to mind in Morgera's seductive turn on "Another Planet." Here, guest Jason Jackson on trombone matches the warm mood with his solo.
The quartet is well displayed with its tight cohesive sound on the charming, waltz-tempoed "Valzerino," as well as in the Latin flavored "Love @ First Site," on which pianist Ashlar and bassist Lepore have impressive solos. Drummer Cox is a paragon of rhythm here, as he is in all the selections.
Guest vocalists appear throughout: Miles Griffith bends notes effortlessly in his cool take on "Just Believe." And then he grabs the listener with his growling and squawking vocalese on Monk’s quirky "Friday the Thirteenth."
Singer Krystle Warren's sultry sound, echoing Sarah Vaughan, is shown off on the standard "Skylark." Later, in the noirish "East River," she sings a moody duet with Griffith, amidst Ashlar’s swirling keyboard sonics and Morgera’s muted trumpet.
Believe me, there is something for everyone in this release.