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Roberto Magris Quintet: Morgan Rewind: A Tribute to Lee Morgan, Vol. 1 (2011)

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Roberto Magris Quintet: Morgan Rewind: A Tribute to Lee Morgan, Vol. 1 How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

For one who left us far too soon (he was shot to death at age 33), Edward Lee Morgan
Lee Morgan
Lee Morgan
1938 - 1972
trumpet
left quite an extensive legacy as a trumpeter, composer and recording artist. In paying tribute to Morgan, pianist Roberto Magris
Roberto Magris
Roberto Magris
b.1959
piano
has a splendid idea. What he does not have, of course, is Lee Morgan or any of the celebrated saxophonists who played alongside him (Hank Mobley
Hank Mobley
Hank Mobley
1930 - 1986
sax, tenor
, Benny Golson
Benny Golson
Benny Golson
b.1929
sax, tenor
, Pepper Adams
Pepper Adams
Pepper Adams
1930 - 1986
sax, baritone
, Clifford Jordan
Clifford Jordan
Clifford Jordan
1931 - 1993
saxophone
, Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
b.1933
saxophone
, Jackie McLean
Jackie McLean
Jackie McLean
1932 - 2006
sax, alto
, Joe Henderson
Joe Henderson
Joe Henderson
1937 - 2001
sax, tenor
, to name only some).

Another Lee, the young trumpeter Brandon Lee
Brandon Lee
Brandon Lee
b.1983
trumpet
, gives it his best shot sitting in for Morgan, while alto saxophonist Logan Richardson is somewhat less persuasive depping for the various reed men with whom Morgan played and recorded. To complete the rhythm section, Magris has recruited a talented young bassist, Elisa Pruett, and the veteran drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath
Albert
Albert "Tootie" Heath
b.1935
drums
who grew up alongside Morgan in Philadelphia (Tootie was three or four years older).

Six of the album's nine musical tracks (a tenth consists of a twelve-minute interview with Heath by producer Paul Collins) were written by Morgan. Magris contributed "Lee-Too" and "Lee Morganized," while saxophonist Billy Harper
Billy Harper
Billy Harper
b.1943
saxophone
penned the virile opener, "Croquet Ballet." Morgan was a first-rate composer whose best-known work is the lovely "Ceora." That's here, accompanied by such other winners as "Party Time," "Desert Moonlight," "Hocus Pocus," "Eclipso" and "Mr. Kenyatta." Heath, sturdy throughout, is especially effective on the Caribbean-flavored "Eclipso" and Afro-style "Kenyatta."

Magris, a versatile pianist, seems right at home in the bop format and is at ease whether comping or soloing, which he does tastefully, while Lee frames a number of solos that easily could have met with Morgan's approval. Richardson, on the other hand, is more remindful of Eric Dolphy
Eric Dolphy
Eric Dolphy
1928 - 1964
reeds
than the plain-spoken boppers who were most often at Morgan's side. That can be taken as a plus or a minus, depending on the listener's fondness for and devotion to the kind of blue-collar bop that epitomized the Blue Note / Prestige sessions of the late '50s and '60s that earned Morgan and others prominence and stardom.

Even though Magris has to make do for the most part with younger musicians whose awareness of that era rests largely on recorded evidence, everyone does his (and her) best to recreate and salute the time in which Morgan lived and flourished. Unrepentant boppers should find the sentiments and the music to their liking.

Track Listing: Croquet Ballet; Party Time; Desert Moonlight; Lee-Too; Ceora; Hocus Pocus; Eclipso; Mr. Kenyatta; Lee Morganized; Audio Liner Notes (interview with Tootie Heath).

Personnel: Roberto Magris: piano; Brandon Lee: trumpet; Logan Richardson: alto sax; Elisa Pruett: bass; Albert "Tootie" Heath: drums.

Record Label: JMOOD* RECORDS

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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