Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

324

Lee Morgan: His Life, Music and Culture

Ken Dryden By

Sign in to view read count
Lee Morgan: His Life, Music and Culture
Tom Perchard
Hardcover; 256 pages
ISBN: 1845532058
Equinox
2006

This is the first biography of Lee Morgan (1938-1972), an influential trumpeter who made a major impact on the jazz scene during his rather brief life. Author Tom Perchard not only details his career and analyzes his performances, but also examines Morgan's youth in Philadelphia, his personal life (heroin addiction, his difficulties with women, overconfidence) and the trumpeter's social activism late in his career. A prodigy on his instrument, Morgan was hired by Dizzy Gillespie and ended up recording as a leader for Blue Note at the age of 18 after Gillespie tried to interest Alfred Lion in recording his own big band. Gaining international exposure while touring with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, the trumpeter had a surprise hit with the album The Sidewinder, though his descent into heroin use nearly ended his career for good by the mid '60s. Slowly rebuilding his life and changing his approach to playing, he was in the midst of a comeback when he was shot to death by a former lady friend in the night club Slugs' between sets.

Perchard's greatest strength is his ability to blend together elements of Morgan's life, incorporating numerous interview excerpts (many of which he conducted himself) and perceptive analysis of Morgan's recordings. When he discusses the cultural background of the times, Perchard occasionally gets a bit bogged down, but never enough to lose the reader's interest. Readers will learn a lot about Morgan's distrust of the record label owners and music publishers, his odd relationship with Art Blakey, the troubled relationships with the women in his life, his wasted years as an addict and eventual rebound. Morgan's efforts to get more work for Black musicians in television through organized protests and his contributions as a jazz educator late in his life are also explored in depth. Recommended.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Book Reviews
Begin the Begin: R.E.M.'s Early Years
By Doug Collette
May 18, 2019
Book Reviews
Singer’s Survival Guide to Touring by Elisabeth Lohninger
By C. Michael Bailey
March 19, 2019
Book Reviews
Ziga Koritnik: Cloud Arrangers
By Nenad Georgievski
February 3, 2019
Book Reviews
Ricochet: David Bowie 1983
By Nenad Georgievski
February 2, 2019
Book Reviews
Shake Your Hips: The Excello Records Story by Randy Fox
By C. Michael Bailey
February 2, 2019
Book Reviews
Billie Holiday: Lady Sings The Blues
By Ian Patterson
January 16, 2019