Lee Morgan was only with us for a short time of 33 years but released an amazing collection of music and is one of the most well known and respected Jazz trumpet players and composers.
When thinking about what are the best Lee Morgan albums of all-time I came to the conclusion:
The choice is really picking what are the 9 best albums in Lee Morgan’s catalog of album as there is no doubt that Sidewinder is going to top any Best of list for the artist. Although Mr. Morgan had some other great albums, many that would make any best of Jazz list, Sidewinder is Sidewinder and deserves the top spot without really any argument from my perspective. So without further here are my picks for the Top 9 Lee Morgan songs and Sidewinder.
10: Here’s Lee Morgan (1960, Blue Note)
A great example of Lee Morgan Hard Bop. You can hear the Clifford Brown influence while he is still developing his own style. Listen to I’m A Fool to Want You below (I am always a sucker for any release with Art Blakey on drums)
9: The Cooker (1958, BlueNote)
8: Live at the Lighthouse (1970, Blue Note)
The the last album we received from Morgan during his lifetime is a double album on Blue Note. Lineup include Lee Morgan on trumpet, Harold Mabern on piano, Jymie Merritt on bass, Bennie Maupin on tenor saxophone & flute, Mickey Roker on drums. The original release was a double LP with one track per side (i.e. 4 tracks). There was a CD release in ’96 that contained 13 additional tracks along with a deluxe 12-LP/8-CD release that featured all 3 evenings of the session. Note that track 5 of the re-releases contained Jack DeJohnette on drums.
7: Indeed! (1957, Blue Note)
Personnel include Lee Morgan on trumpet, Clarence Sharpe on alto saxophone, Horace Silver on piano, Wilbur Ware on bass, and Philly Jones – drums
6: Lee Morgan Volume 3 (1957, Blue Note)
5: Search for the New Land (1964, Blue Note)
This album was recorded in ’64 but shelfed and not released on Blue Note until ’66. One of Lees best recordings and features some great piano from Herbie Hancock. Listen to the entire album below
4: Candy (1958, Blue Note)
One that others may disagree with being this high on our list but one of my personal favorites. Released in ’58 on Blue Note and features a lineup of Sonny Clark, Art Taylor, and Doug Watkins. Has a cool feel to it and some of the most expressive playing Lee.
2: Cornbread (1965, Blue Note)
Featuring an all-star linup of Lee Morgan, Herbie Hancock, Jackie McLean, Hank Mobley, Larry Ridley, and Billy Higgins Cornbread is in my opinion Morgan’s best work outside of Sidewinder. Take a listen to the title track below and see if you agree.