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Gabby Gervasio
MUSE 250
Dr. Palmer


American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and conductor, Lee Morgan, was born in

Philadelphia on July 10th, 1938, and died in New York City at the age of thirty-three. Morgan,
among the greatest trumpeters of the 1960s, was well-known for his superb virtuosic playing,
hard bop, blues and R&B compositions, and incredible techniques which defined his own style
(Billboard). His passion for music was conveyed through his hip swagger, playfulness, and
strong feelings (McMillan). Like many others, Lee Morgan was inspired by Clifford Brown,
another famous American jazz trumpeter. Though Morgan played the vibraphone at twelve
years-old, he turned to the trumpet and took lessons around the age of fourteen. By age fifteen,
he was performing professionally in a group. During his teen years, he was able to meet his
idols- Clifford Brown, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie.
Upon graduating from Mastbaum High School in 1956, Morgan began his professional
music career and had the opportunity to play with Art Blakeys Jazz Messengers as they passed
through Philadelphia. In addition to performing with the Jazz Messengers, he was hired by
Dizzy Gillespie to play in his big band, with Blakey, Benny Golson, Hank Mobley, Wayne
Shorter, Jymie Merritt, and Bobby Timmons (McMillan). Lee Morgan was featured as a soloist
on A Night in Tunisia in Gillespies big band, until the band dissolved in January, 1958
(McMillan). Unfortunately, Morgan left the Jazz Messengers three years later, and returned to
Philadelphia in hopes to eradicate his heroin addiction. His addiction was said to have been
influenced by Art Blakely. Meanwhile, he spent two years away from performing professionally,

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and instead, worked with saxophonist, Jimmy Heath, occasionally. As Morgan requited to being
a full-time musician again, he developed a more mature, artistic style. Morgan recorded with the
New York-based jazz club, Blue Note Records, in 1963, and recorded with the group for the first
time as a leader. Before Morgans album, The Sidewinder, gained popularity, he reunited with
the Jazz Messengers in 1963. Morgan recorded for Savoy and Specialty two years after, and
performed on John Coltranes, Blue Train. Around 1968, Morgan became vocal about the
neglect of jazz music, and became one of the leaders of the Jazz and Peoples
Movement (Allred). Before leaving the Jazz Messengers once again, in 1986, Morgan formed a
quintet with Bennie Maupin, Harold Mabern, Merritt, and Mickey Roker (McMillan). His
choice to leave the Jazz Messengers was driven by his desire to record more albums and form his
group with the aforementioned trumpeters. His most famous compositions were blues based,
though he occasionally composed waltzes and calypsos. Classic albums by Lee Morgan include,
Cornbread, and The Sidewinder, and his classic songs include, Candy, Speedball,
Ceora, Delightfulee, The Procrastinator, and Caramba. At the end of the 1960s, he
drifted away from recording and continued touring with a group. Morgans last performance was
on February 19th, 1972, which is also his death date. The jazz world took a loss when Lee
Morgan was shot by his common-law wife, Helen Moore Morgan, at his performance at Slugs
Club, in New York. Until his death, he had recorded twenty-seven albums of his own, in
addition to nineteen with Art Blakey, and more than twenty with Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Hank
Mobley, Wayne Shorter and other well-known jazz performers. The table below, is Lee
Morgans discography:

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1957 I Remember Clifford

1957 Whisper Not
1958 Speak Note
1958 Just One of These Things
1958 Who Do You Love I Hope
1958 Candy
1958 Peckin Time
1959 Blues a la Carte
1960 These Are Soulful Days
1960 Im a Fool To Want You
1960 Midtown Blues
1964 The Sidewinder
1964 Garys Notebook
1964 Hocus-Pocus
1964 Mr. Kenyatta
1964 Totem Pole
1964 Search for the New Land
1965 The Rumproller
1965 Cornbread
1965 Desert Moonlight
1965 Most Like Lee
1965 Ceora
1965 Trapped
1966 You Go to My Head
1966 The Gigolo
1966 Delightfulee
1969 The Double Up
1969 Sweet Honey Bee
1969 Mr. Johnson


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Steve Huey, Rovi. Lee Morgan. Billboard.

Krikorian, Dave. Morgan, Lee. The Encyclopedia. 2007. Print

Jeffery S. McMillan. "Morgan, Lee." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford
University Press. Web. 7 Dec. 2015.