Laurie Morgan

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b. Laurence Morgan, 4 September 1926, Stoke Newington, London, England. Morgan took up the drums as a small child, and by his early teens he had become sufficiently skilled to join a youthful quartet…
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Artist Biography by

b. Laurence Morgan, 4 September 1926, Stoke Newington, London, England. Morgan took up the drums as a small child, and by his early teens he had become sufficiently skilled to join a youthful quartet that also included Don Rendell. Morgan played in many parts of the UK and during the early years of World War II toured US military camps as a member of a band led by pianist Hetty Booth. In the mid-to-late 40s he was active mainly in London, playing the club circuit as a member of various bands including that led by the popular trumpeter, Jack Jackson. Around this time he also visited the USA with Ronnie Scott and Tony Crombie, finding work there for a short while. He also crossed and re-crossed the Atlantic as a member of a band on board the Queen Mary. In 1948, Morgan was involved in the establishment of Club Eleven, the crucible in which much of British bop was developed.

At this venue, he often played as a member of a quartet, the other members of which were John Dankworth, Joe Muddell and Bernie Fenton. During the early 50s he played in several bands including those led by Leon Roy, Harry Hayes, Ambrose and Dizzy Reece. He also formed his own band, Elevated Music, with which he toured on the Continent. During the rest of this decade he was active with many bands in the UK and in 1959 formed another group, the Contemporary Jazz Unit. During succeeding years Morgan worked with Tommy Whittle among many others but became gradually ever more deeply involved in music in the London theatre. His engagements in this field included those of musical director at the Mercury Theatre and the National Theatre. He retained his interest in jazz, however, playing in Bernie Cash’s Great Jazz Solos Revisited Orchestra during the 70s. Into the 90s Morgan continued his many activities which by this time included teaching in schools and also running jazz workshops. In this decade he led a trio, the Jazz, the other members of which were pianist Iggy Quale and bass player Coleridge Goode.