Clarinetist and tenor saxophonist Andrew Morgan was one of the younger brothers in this talented New Orleans jazz family, meaning when he was born the year on the calendar began with the numbers 19 rather than 18 -- not something that could be said for either of his bandleading and trumpet-playing brothers, Sam Morgan or Isaiah Morgan. Only Al Morgan was younger; the baby brother of the family came along in 1908 and went on to play on a larger number of recordings, if the preceding number was not a year but a tally of jazz and R&B sides. Andrew Morgan was born some five years previously, at the height of one of those ghastly Gulf Coast summers. Some researchers place the year of his birth as 1901 rather than 1903. While he never came close to matching his little brother's involvement with sideman and recording session activities, the reed Morgan stayed active in New Orleans jazz through several different eras, fitting snugly into the working bands of performers such as Captain John Handy and Sweet Emma Barrett. He even collaborated with an Italian jazz group devoted to the New Orleans sound, the Louisiana Shakers of Genova, a meeting documented on a late-'60s release on the GHB label.
Like all of the Morgan horn players, this artist's recording career began in 1927 when Sam Morgan's Jazz Band was fortunate enough to be in the final pick of only half a dozen New Orleans jazz ensembles to be recorded by the Columbia label. All the brothers except for the bassist -- who gigged with Isaiah, never Sam -- were among the musical masses hovered around a single recording microphone, an elite assembly of hot players who also included pianist Tink Baptiste, alto saxophonist Earl Fouche, and banjoist Johnny Dave. Four of these recordings were reissued by the Timeless label in a set largely devoted to the groups of Oscar "Papa" Celestin. The brotherly Morgan band's vintage efforts include Sam Morgan's somewhat vain songwriting boast, "Everyone's Talkin' 'Bout Sammy."
Performing opportunities for the group during this period included coveted riverboat gigs on vessels such as The Capitol. An early lesson in the importance of amplification, normally not a topic associated with New Orleans jazz of the '20s, involved a hot competition for a job on this riverboat. Sam Morgan's Jazz Band was literally involved in a playoff with the Fate Marable band, members such as Andrew Morgan pressing hard to top up what was already an extreme case of hometown popularity. It was too much of a threat for the conniving Marable, who tried to take the edge off the sound of the competition by disconnecting some kind of primitive amplification system that the Morgan group was apparently using. Fortunately, a friend of the brothers figured out what had happened, hooked the sound system back up, and the job was won for the Morgans after all. Preservation Hall was a typical venue for Andrew Morgan in subsequent years when riverboats began preferring canned music.