(Blue Note)

LEE MORGAN: Lee-Way (Blue Note) Lee-Way, recorded in April 1960, is Lee Morgan's only Blue Note recording between his Candy (1957) and Sidewinder (1963). During this period, Morgan was under contract to Vee Jay. Why he entered the Blue Note studios to cut this good if not great disc is not clear.

The group for this session consists of three then-current members of Art Blakey's group (Morgan on trumpet; Blakey on drums; and Bobby Timmons on piano), plus Blakey alum, Jackie McLean on alto sax, and Paul Chambers on bass rounding out the quintet. There are only four tunes here, so there's plenty of room for extended soloing. However, this is not just a blowing session. What sets this and other Blue Note recordings apart is the emphasis on interesting composition.

The preference for good composition reflects the influence of producers Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff, whose names here adorn the title of Lee Morgan's unusually constructed blues (4+6+2), "The Lion and the Wolff." Jackie McLean also contributes one of his quirky compositions, a blues that employs stop time in its very first measure. The producers further demonstrate their good taste in recording two Calvin Massey compositions, "Nakatini Suite," and "These are Soulful Days."

Morgan's work here is typical--if occasionally out of control. The set is particularly distinguished by two Blakey drum solos, and the extroverted presence of Bobby Timmons. Timmons nicely warms up Blue Note's sometimes excessively cool aesthetic.

© 2002 David Tegnell
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