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The Complete Recordings

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  • A firebrand trumpeter who recorded as a leader almost from the very start of his career, Lee Morgan is perhaps best known for his colorfully titled and roiling, go-go funk-inflected '60s Blue Note sessions The Sidewinder, The Rumproller, and The Gigolo. However, by the time those albums were released, Morgan had already delivered well over ten studio albums, not to mention his sideman dates. The 2015 anthology The Complete Recordings: 1956-1962 brings together all of the legendary trumpeter's recordings for such labels as Blue Note, Savoy, and Vee-Jay. These are albums Morgan recorded early in his career while he was also a member of such storied ensembles as the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band and, later, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Blessed with a rounded tone and lithe technique that he employed in his own distinctive, serpentine fashion, Morgan quickly rose to the top level of jazz stars well before his 21st birthday. In fact, as an 18-year-old disciple of trumpeter Clifford Brown, the Philadelphia-born Morgan was already blowing the pants off most of his peers on his 1956 debut, Indeed! He quickly followed up with such similarly invigorating albums as 1956's Introducing Lee Morgan, 1957's City Lights, 1957's Candy, and 1960's Lee-Way. Joined on these dates by such luminaries as pianist Horace Silver, tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, pianist Sonny Clark, drummer Philly Joe Jones, tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter, and others, Morgan never failed to surround himself with the best players on the scene. As a result, these sessions remain some of the hardest-blowing jazz dates of the '50s and '60s. ~ Matt Collar
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