Unlike many of the other recent tribute albums, this program of the music of the late trumpeter Lee Morgan casts his compositions in familiar surroundings not all that different from the original recordings. Trumpeter Eddie Henderson, who was influenced by Morgan but found his own voice, is a good choice for the lead role and his muted outing on the one non-Morgan piece, "You Don't Know What Love Is," is a strong feature. Tenorman Joe Lovano, who can sound like Joe Henderson at times and hints at the passion of Coltrane on the date's most advanced piece "Search for the New Land," has a strong personality of his own and matches well with Eddie Henderson. The solid rhythm section (pianist Cedar Walton, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Billy Higgins) is a major asset while Grover Washington, Jr., makes a pair of guest appearances on soprano and shows once again that he can play swinging soulful jazz; pity that he never seems to play tenor in this type of setting. The eight Lee Morgan songs heard on this recommended CD are interpreted in the same basic hard bop style that the trumpeter spent most of his career playing, an idiom that serves as the modern jazz mainstream of today. Highlights include "Sidewinder," "Ceora," "Speedball" (which has some heated tradeoffs by the horns) and the infectious "Ca-Lee-So."
A Tribute to Lee Morgan Review
by Scott Yanow