This is a "reissue-plus" of the 1960 debut album (originally on Vee-Jay Records) by jazz trumpet great Lee Morgan. Morgan had one of the sharpest, brashest modern trumpet sounds in the 60s, right up there with contemporaries Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard. On his debut he was in swell company: hard bop drums-legend Art Blakey (whose Jazz Messengers Morgan was a member of), '50s Miles & Coltrane pianist Wynton Kelly, bass ace Paul Chambers and the fine, underrated tenor sax of Clifford Jordan. The program is the usual mix of standards and originals, with a fine-and-mellow version of Frank Sinatra's ballad "I'm A Fool To Want You." Wayne Shorter's sturdy "Running Brook" pointed towards the moody, thoughtful hard bop of the Blue Note era.
On his debut, Morgan was still heavily under the sway of Miles and Kenny Dorham, not having yet developed the bristling, crackling sound that was his mid-to-late '60s trademark. (Heck, he sounds positively mellow at times, but he sure plays sweet & tasty.) Blakey is restrained yet driving, tossing in propulsive little fills (the calm before the Messengers' 60s storm?). Jordan aims for that space, that overlapping area between guys like Johnny Griffin, Hank Mobley & (circa '60-62) Coltrane - and he gets it. The seeds of Morgan's greatness are present in this easygoing set of mainstream jazz, and this set is all the more valuable for the distinctive tenor of Jordan. Oh yeah, the "plus:" there's an additional disc of alternate takes. Morgan/Vee-Jay fans will be pleased.