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Lee Morgan: Charisma

Douglas Payne By

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Lee Morgan recorded a couple dozen records just like this for Blue Note back in the sixties - swinging, soulful sessions that featured catchy, clever real-jazz tunes and interesting players at the top of their game. Perhaps that's why this September 2 9, 1966, session wasn't released on record until 1969. In time and interest, Charisma falls between the delightful Delightfulee and The Rajah, a more by-the-numbers Morgan session that Blue Note didn't release until 1986. Now that it 's back in circulation again, Charisma has much to recommend it; not the least of which is the presence of alto great Jackie McLean (a frequent Morgan ally on Tom Cat , Cornbread, Infinity and The Sixth Sense, to name a few). Also on board is pianist Cedar Walton, who contributes with a soulfulness that was so much a part of his playing back then, the heroic Hank Mobley on tenor, Paul Chambers on bass and Billy Higgins on drums. Charisma aptly de scribes the group interplay here too. The three horns and the pianist had a particularly good day: playfully coming up with one interesting line after another and chasing each other with frisky, frolicsome solos. Morgan stacks the deck with a great line- up of originals too: the funky "Hey Chico," the bop grind of "Somethin' Cute" and "The Murphy Man" and the blues of "The Double Up." Pianist Cedar Walton provides another one of his memorable ballads in "Rainy Night" and the sextet has a lot of fun with Duke Pearson's rollicking "Sweet Honey Bee" too. Even though most of Lee Morgan's records are worth hearing time and again, Charisma embodies much of what makes the trumpeter's music valuable and worthwhile three decades later. This is one to get and enjoy for years to come. Highly recommended.

Tracks: Hey Chico; Somethin' Cute; Rainy Night; Sweet Honey Bee; The Murphy Man; The Double Up.

Players: Lee Morgan (trumpet); Jackie McLean (alto sax); Hank Mobley (tenor sax); Cedar Walton (piano); Paul Chambers (bass); Billy Higgins (drums).

| Record Label: Blue Note Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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