Nate Morgan: Journey Into Nigritia (2005)
The collection opens with the Trane-ish Mrafu. Komolafe blasts off in short order, and while the modal chording recalls Tyner, Morgan shows flashes of the nimble loquacious gift that define him. While Alice Coltrane incense perfumes "Morning Prayer, Morgan's devotional sincerity and personnel expression triumph.
Suitably complex with yearning minors, Mother features the trio performing a memorable composition. Littleton's deep-note sustain contrasts Wise's shimmering cymbals, while Morgan tells heart-wrenching truth. With a somewhat solemn theme, He Left Us a Song regularly bursts through into straight-ahead fast break sprints up and down the court. The unexpected "Study in C.T. offers an homage to Cecil Taylor and Morgan's musical roots with free improvisations on a dense and spiky theme. The exhilarating result has Morgan exploring his own way, with a winking slinging of jagged bass chords halfway through.
While a quarter century's experience has nurtured Morgan's prodigious gifts beyond this ambitious debut, Journey Into Nigritia offers enjoyable insights into his artistic evolution, while adding another precious title to the discography of one of the most woefully under-recorded greats of our time.
Track Listing: Mrafu; Morning Prayer; Mother; Journey Into Nigritia; He Left Us a Song; Study in CT
Personnel: Nate Morgan, piano; Fritz Wise, drums; Jeff Littleton, bass; Dadisi Komolafe, alto sax.
Record Label: Nimbus West