Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Lee Morgan

  • The Very Best [Blue Note, 2005] A

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Very Best [Blue Note, 2005]
Morgan's 1963 "The Sidewinder" was a perfect piece of jazz funk and very nearly his ruination. He kept trying to repeat it and couldn't, because an inspired pop-jazz instrumental is a far rarer thing than, for instance, an inspired bebop solo. Meanwhile, the bebop faithful, who were too refined for "The Sidewinder" anyway, accused him of following formula, beating his grandmother, and so forth. Capitol should assemble a collection of attempted repetitions--"Cornbread" and "Sneaky Pete" are my nominations--but this isn't it. Instead it balances a compromise on the fulcrum of the catchy-yet-complex "Ceora." Joe Henderson and Wayne Shorter understood both sides like few other saxophonists, and Morgan's bright, robust trumpet deserves to remembered by "I Remember Clifford." Funky enough. A