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Carol Morgan: Blue Glass Music

C. Michael Bailey By

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Trumpeter Carol Morgan's Blue Bamboo debut, Opening (2010) was received uniformly, with accolades from all quarters. The Texas-native cum Manhattan-ite exploded out of Julliard following the tutelage of trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, and seemed to be everywhere at once. Morgan has been a constant in the DIVA Jazz Orchestra (with Sharel Cassity), and fronting her quintet, Carol Morgan's Case Study, featuring pianist Helen Sung and guitarist Mike Moreno, and her organ trio, Morgana' Organic Trio, featuring Akiko Tsuruga.

Morgan departs little from her approach on Opening with Blue Glass Music. She is a traditionalist with extremely sharp chops who likes to approach older jazz forms as a clean slate. Morgan possesses a unique and acute prism through which she peers backward to bring the music forward. Here, she adds tenor saxophonist Joel Frahm to her piano-less trio format (saxophonist Woody Witt was featured on Opening) for the long haul and the two prove to share splendid simpatico.

The disc opens with the standards "I Love You" and "April in Paris," both given spare, dry treatments, warm and spontaneous like the best of the 1950s Blue Note blowing sessions, with Frahm spot on in his angular solo entries and outros. This mode continues with a breezy reading of tenor saxophonist Booker Little's "Booker's Waltz," and is a backward look at the Gerry Mulligan Quartet at The Haig, with Morgan playing Chet Baker, but with much denser and more informed gravity.

Alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman" is the disc's high point, carefully orchestrated to capture both the free and swinging elements of the composition—a Dolby-normalized update of this masterpiece. Frahm's own "Glyph" gives a nod to Dave Brubeck in his "Blue Rhondo a la Turk" mode, without the 4/4 transitions, providing a modern and craggy interlude to the recital.

A rainmaker, with Blue Glass Music, Morgan clearly stands to continue broadening her influence in jazz, both as a musician and a producer.

Track Listing: I Love You; April In Paris; Lonely Woman; Booker's Waltz; Glyph; Where Are You; Last Waltz.

Personnel: Carol Morgan: trumpet; Joel Frahm: tenor saxophone; Martin Wind: bass; Matt Wilson: drums and percussion.

Title: Blue Glass Music | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Blue Bamboo Music

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