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Lee Morgan - Search for the New Land (2003) Retail CD
This is not one of Lee Morgan's best known records but it is one of hisbest. Such was the commercial success of 'The Sidewinder' that Blue Notewanted more of the same, and this set, the next chronologically, wasshelved for nearly two years, while a 'Sidewinder sequel' entitled 'TheRumproller' was hurried through to capitilise on the former's success withanother danceable funky opener to grab commercial notoriety.Unfortunately, although 'The Rumproller' is quite good, it was toocontrived to ever be in the same league as its predecessor, In some ways,Morgan was always plagued by 'The Sidewindersmore…' success and the desire torepeat it in years to come.
'Search For The New land' on the other handwas a departure for Morgan, and all the more refreshing for it. The albumsees him expanding his repetoire in terms of both writing and soloingbeyond the big brash catchy hard bop soloing he was known for on his bestwork with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and 'The Sidewinder' What it lacksin immediacy and excitement, is made up for in more creative and variedmaterial and great musicianship.
Morgan clearly benefitted also herefrom a great line up supporting him. The sound is immediately differentfrom previous recordings, most obviously because of the inclusion of aguitarist in Grant Green, who excels throughout; while the combination ofthe more eclectic Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock avoids any hint of hardbop cliche or predictibilty.
The album is dominated by the 15 and a half minute opening title track,an ambitious extended composition which works very convincingly. The moodis calmer and more pastoral than much of his previous work, and it is bothintroduced and interspersed between solos with a repeated wistful, almostdreamy theme. Each soloist is outstanding, and at no point does it feellike the track has gone on too long; and the repeated theme gives thewhole a sense of circularity and completeness.
The remaining fourtracks are more familiar sounding but there is enough creative soloing onshow that the whole album has a sense of originality about it. 'MrKenyatta' is the standout of the four but the whole album is of a highstandard.
Morgan's own playing is terrific; while he displays his usualdexterity he also shows a subtler touch and greater command of mood andtexture than he had displayed before.
For all fans of Lee Morgan, 60s jazz or those who need persuading that hewas capable of more than full bloodied steaming hard bop, this is anessential recording.
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- Lee Morgan - Search for the New Land (2003) Retail CD
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- 16/03/08 by pontiacc
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