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Carol Morgan Trio: Opening

C. Michael Bailey By

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Trumpeter Carol Morgan has a smile as big as her Texas home, and chops expertly informed by Ingrid Jensen, among others, at Juilliard. She has been a fixture in the DIVA Jazz Orchestra (with Sharel Cassity). Additionally, Morgan heads the quintet, Carol Morgan's Case Study, featuring pianist Helen Sung and Guitarist Mike Moreno, and Morgana' Organic Trio, featuring Akiko Tsuruga. Opening is a trio recording, with bassist Harvie S and drummer Richie DeRosa.

Piano-less trios are not uncommon; but trumpet-led trios are. The closest comparison to Morgan's trio is Sonny Rollins' tenor trio of the late '50s, with both relying on a solidly based rhythm section. Empathic communion occurs amongst Morgan's trio on Bud Powell's "Celia," where all three trade opening shots in the quick head of the piece, as Harvie S readily proves his popularity among New York musicians with both introductory and solo spaces. DeRosa establishes a pliant 4/4, over which Morgan proves, thankfully, to be pretty far away from Miles Davis and much closer to Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard, without rote imitating either of them.

DeRosa's original "Dark Continent" lays down a percussive rhythm similar to that of Max Roach on Rollins' "St. Thomas," with the snare dropped and a solo full of cymbals and West African rhythm. "Like Someone in Love" is given a jaunty treatment, propelled by Harvie S. The piece rapidly evolves into a quiet ballad, DeRosa almost inaudible, as Morgan plays with beauty and command, illustrating something between hard bop and mainstream. This is perfect music for the jazz conservative looking for melodic playing with a lot of space around it.

Kenny Dorham's "Prince Albert" may reveal Morgan's closest relationship with a trumpeter from the past. This is chamber jazz, devoid of Third Stream musings. It is as stripped down and cleaned up as jazz can be. The result is a fresh sound full of warmth and swing. Morgan lives up to all of the attention she has been garnering and then some.

Track Listing: Opening Line; Nica's Dream; Celia; Dark Continent; Like Someone In Love; Prince Albert; Sizzle; Calypso Blue.

Personnel: Carol Morgan: trumpet; Harvie S: bass; Rich DeRosa: drums; Woody Witt: saxophones (4).

Title: Opening | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Blue Bamboo Music

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