Trumpeter Carol Morgan began her career in the world of classical conservatories. Around the time she received her M.A. from Julliard, however, she decided to pursue a different path. A decade later, Morgan was found headlining a jazz trio at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola in New York City, mere walking distance from the hallowed Lincoln Center practice rooms of her previous life. Opening, on the Texas-based Blue Bamboo Music label, provides ample evidence of this dramatic transformation. It is possible to hear glimpses of her pedigree in the precise articulations and even tone, but the moody edge that envelopes her notes is strictly the stuff of jazz.
In a bold move for a debut outing, Morgan forgoes a traditional rhythm section in favor of a chordless bass-drum trio. Such instrumentation is more common among free jazz trumpet players, perhaps, but is used here to gain a wider palette for harmonic and melodic explorations in a straight-ahead setting. Morgan's veteran band matesdrummer Richie DeRosa and bassist Harvie Srise to the demands of the trio format, while providing remarkably supple support to the leader. They also contribute a pair of engaging compositions to the session.
Opening beings aggressively with "Opening Line," but soon veers into much darker terrain with an introspective rendition of Horace Silver's "Nica's Dream." Relaxed tracks such as "Like Someone In Love" and "Dark Continent," the DeRosa original featuring guest saxophonist Woody Witt, provide balance for brighter numbers like Bud Powell's "Celia" and Harvie S' "Sizzle." Despite its many moods, though, Morgan and company maintain a crisp, swinging feel throughout.
Track Listing: Opening Line; Nica's Dream; Celia; Dark Continent; Like Someone In Love; Prince Albert; Sizzle; Calypso Blue.
I love jazz because it swings.
I was first exposed to jazz in Houston.
I met Joe LoCascio and Bob Henschen.
The best show I ever attended was Pat Martino.
The first jazz record I bought was Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
My advice to new listeners is to relax on 2 and 4 beats.