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Lee Morgan

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Lee Morgan

Lee Morgan
Background information
Birth name Edward Lee Morgan[1]
Born (1938-07-10)July 10, 1938
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died February 19, 1972(1972-02-19) (aged 33)
New York City, New York, United States
Genres Jazz, bebop, hard bop
Occupation(s) Trumpeter, composer
Instruments Trumpet, flugelhorn
Years active 1956-1972
Labels Blue Note Records, Vee-Jay Records
Associated acts Art Blakey, John Coltrane, Curtis Fuller, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Henderson, Andrew Hill, Charles Earland, Art Farmer, Johnny Griffin, Jackie McLean, Hank Mobley, Wayne Shorter, Jimmy Smith, Larry Young, Wynton Kelly, Grachan Moncur III, Clifford Jordan, Benny Golson

Edward Lee Morgan (July 10, 1938, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – February 19, 1972, New York City) was an American hard bop trumpeter.[2][3]


  • Biography 1
  • Death 2
  • Discography 3
  • Further reading 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Edward Lee Morgan was born in Philadelphia on July 10, 1938, the youngest of Otto Ricardo and Nettie Beatrice Morgan's four children. A leading trumpeter and composer, he recorded prolifically from 1956 until a day before his death in February 1972. Originally interested in the Clifford Brown, who gave the teenager a few lessons before he joined the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band at 18, and remained a member for a year and a half, until the economic situation forced Dizzy to disband the unit in 1958. He began recording for Blue Note Records in 1956, eventually recording 25 albums as a leader for the company, with more than 250 musicians. He also recorded on the Vee-Jay label and one album for Riverside Records on its short-lived Jazzland subsidiary.

He was a featured sideman on several early Hank Mobley records, as well as on John Coltrane's Blue Train (1957), on which he played a trumpet with an angled bell (given to him by Gillespie) and delivered one of his most celebrated solos on the title track.

Joining Wayne Shorter, a young tenor saxophonist, to fill the chair. This version of the Jazz Messengers, including pianist Bobby Timmons and bassist Jymie Merritt, recorded the classic The Freedom Rider album. The drug problems of Morgan and Timmons forced them to leave the band in 1961, and the trumpeter returned to Philadelphia, his hometown. According to Tom Perchard, a Morgan biographer, it was Blakey who introduced the trumpeter to heroin, which impeded his progression in his career.

Lee Morgan (1959)

On returning to New York in 1963, he recorded The Sidewinder" as filler for the album, and was bemused that it had turned into his biggest hit. He felt that his playing was much more advanced on Grachan Moncur III's essentially avant-garde Evolution album, recorded a month earlier, on November 21, 1963.

After this commercial success, Morgan continued to record prolifically, producing such works as Search for the New Land (1964), which reached the top 20 of the R&B charts. He also briefly rejoined the Jazz Messengers after his successor, Freddie Hubbard, joined another group. Together with John Gilmore, this lineup was filmed by the BBC for seminal jazz television program Jazz 625.

As the 60's progressed, he recorded some twenty additional albums as a leader, and continued to record as a sideman on the albums of other artists, including Wayne Shorter's Andrew Hill's Grass Roots; as well as on several albums with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

He became more politically involved in the last two years of his life, becoming one of the leaders of the Jazz and People's Movement. The group demonstrated during the taping of talk and variety shows during 1970-71 to protest the lack of jazz artists as guest performers and members of the programs' bands. His working band during those last years featured reed players Live at the Lighthouse, recorded during a two-week engagement at the Hermosa Beach club, California, in July 1970.


Morgan was killed in the early hours of February 19, 1972, at

  • Lee Morgan tribute site
  • Masaya Matsumura's Lee Morgan Discography site
  • Lee Morgan discography
  • Lee Morgan playing his famous "Ceora" ballad
  • The Lady Who Shot Lee Morgan by Larry Reni Thomas

External links

  1. ^ NNDB
  2. ^
  3. ^ McMillan, J.S., (2008). DelightfuLee: the life and music of Lee Morgan, University of Michigan Press, p.1
  4. ^ a b Tobler, John (19). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 235. CN 5585. 
  5. ^ Thomas, Larry Reni. The Lady Who Shot Lee Morgan (1996)[1]


  • Jeff McMillan DelightfuLee: The Life and Music of Lee Morgan (2008) University of Michigan Press
  • Tom Perchard Lee Morgan: His Life, Music and Culture (2006) Equinox
  • (1996)The Lady Who Shot Lee MorganThomas, Larry Reni.

Further reading

Title Year Label
Lee Morgan Indeed! 1956 Blue Note
Introducing Lee Morgan 1956 Savoy
Lee Morgan Sextet 1957 Blue Note
Lee Morgan Vol. 3 1957 Blue Note
City Lights 1957 Blue Note
The Cooker 1957 Blue Note
Candy 1957 Blue Note
Here's Lee Morgan 1960 Vee-Jay
The Young Lions 1960 Vee-Jay
Expoobident 1960 Vee-Jay
Lee-Way 1960 Blue Note
Take Twelve 1962 Jazzland Records
The Sidewinder 1963 Blue Note
Search for the New Land 1964 Blue Note
Tom Cat 1964 Blue Note
The Rumproller 1965 Blue Note
The Gigolo 1965 Blue Note
Cornbread 1965 Blue Note
Infinity 1965 Blue Note
Delightfulee Morgan 1966 Blue Note
Charisma 1966 Blue Note
The Rajah 1966 Blue Note
Standards 1967 Blue Note
Sonic Boom 1967 Blue Note
The Procrastinator 1967 Blue Note
The Sixth Sense 1967 Blue Note
Taru 1968 Blue Note
Caramba! 1968 Blue Note
Live at the Lighthouse 1970 Blue Note
The Last Session 1971 Blue Note


After her release, Helen Morgan returned to her native North Carolina and died there from a heart condition in March 1996. [5]

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