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One of the most individual stylists of his time, trumpeter Lee Morgan began his professional career in Philadelphia at age fifteen. At eighteen, after a short stint with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Morgan joined Dizzy Gillespie's orchestra, where he stayed until the group disbanded in 1958. A return to Blakey brought Morgan new opportunities, including his first successf One of the most individual stylists of his time, trumpeter Lee Morgan began his professional career in Philadelphia at age fifteen. At eighteen, after a short stint with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Morgan joined Dizzy Gillespie's orchestra, where he stayed until the group disbanded in 1958. A return to Blakey brought Morgan new opportunities, including his first successful attempts at composition. But however much his time with Blakey helped to advance his playing and writing, his boss's and his bandmates' destructive drug habits exerted just as strong an influence. Within three years, Morgan would be back home in Philadelphia, strung out on heroin and penniless. Morgan's return to music in the early to mid-sixties witnessed a tremendous evolution in his playing. Formerly a virtuoso in the model of his idol, Clifford Brown, Morgan brought to his critically acclaimed Blue Note records of the era an emotionally charged, muscular tone, full of poise and control. But it was with the record Sidewinder, recorded in 1963, that Morgan found his greatest fame and commercial success, due to the infectious groove of the title tune. By the time of his death, at thirty-three---murdered in a New York City club by his girlfriend during a gig---Morgan had begun a new phase of his career, experimenting with freer-forms of musical expression. Jeff McMillan's Delightfulee is the first biography to seriously examine Morgan's vast contributions to jazz, both as a performer and as a composer. Thanks to exclusive access to Lee Morgan's now-deceased brother, McMillan is also able to provide unparalleled insight into Morgan's personal and family life Jeff McMillan received his master's degree from the Jazz History and Research program at Rutgers-Newark in 2000 and currently works as an archivist for the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.


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One of the most individual stylists of his time, trumpeter Lee Morgan began his professional career in Philadelphia at age fifteen. At eighteen, after a short stint with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Morgan joined Dizzy Gillespie's orchestra, where he stayed until the group disbanded in 1958. A return to Blakey brought Morgan new opportunities, including his first successf One of the most individual stylists of his time, trumpeter Lee Morgan began his professional career in Philadelphia at age fifteen. At eighteen, after a short stint with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Morgan joined Dizzy Gillespie's orchestra, where he stayed until the group disbanded in 1958. A return to Blakey brought Morgan new opportunities, including his first successful attempts at composition. But however much his time with Blakey helped to advance his playing and writing, his boss's and his bandmates' destructive drug habits exerted just as strong an influence. Within three years, Morgan would be back home in Philadelphia, strung out on heroin and penniless. Morgan's return to music in the early to mid-sixties witnessed a tremendous evolution in his playing. Formerly a virtuoso in the model of his idol, Clifford Brown, Morgan brought to his critically acclaimed Blue Note records of the era an emotionally charged, muscular tone, full of poise and control. But it was with the record Sidewinder, recorded in 1963, that Morgan found his greatest fame and commercial success, due to the infectious groove of the title tune. By the time of his death, at thirty-three---murdered in a New York City club by his girlfriend during a gig---Morgan had begun a new phase of his career, experimenting with freer-forms of musical expression. Jeff McMillan's Delightfulee is the first biography to seriously examine Morgan's vast contributions to jazz, both as a performer and as a composer. Thanks to exclusive access to Lee Morgan's now-deceased brother, McMillan is also able to provide unparalleled insight into Morgan's personal and family life Jeff McMillan received his master's degree from the Jazz History and Research program at Rutgers-Newark in 2000 and currently works as an archivist for the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

42 review for Delightfulee: The Life and Music of Lee Morgan

  1. 4 out of 5

    Roger

    For those who don't know, Lee Morgan was a modern jazz trumpet player who recorded prolifically, was a friend of jazz trumpet great Clifford Brown, and played with other jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie and Art Blakey. He played as a sideman on one of the greatest ever modern jazz records, Blue Train, and wrote and played another modern jazz classic The Sidewinder, which reached number 35 in the Billboard charts in 1964. Jeffery McMillan's biography of Morgan can be slotted pretty much into th For those who don't know, Lee Morgan was a modern jazz trumpet player who recorded prolifically, was a friend of jazz trumpet great Clifford Brown, and played with other jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie and Art Blakey. He played as a sideman on one of the greatest ever modern jazz records, Blue Train, and wrote and played another modern jazz classic The Sidewinder, which reached number 35 in the Billboard charts in 1964. Jeffery McMillan's biography of Morgan can be slotted pretty much into the genre of hagiography. According to McMillan, Morgan never really did any wrong by anyone, or any bad things. The truth, which can be read between the lines, is that for a lot of his tragically short life Morgan was a junkie, along with all that entails. What does come out from the book is how remarkable it was that he managed to produce as much good jazz as he did - along with the what if question - if he hadn't become a junkie, or had he managed to somehow control his addiction, how much better would he have been? Despite McMillan's claim that Morgan was pretty much straight at the time of his death, other reports, and even statements in McMillan's book itself, suggest that Morgan was still struggling with his demons right up until the time he was shot dead by his de-facto wife between sets at Slug's nightclub in Manhattan. It is clear that initially, it was Art Blakey who got Morgan "turned on", as he did to many other members of the jazz fraternity at one time or another - for all that one can admire Blakey for his contribution to music, it has to be balanced against the destruction of lives that he was involved in by passing on the heroin habit. In fact, where he can McMillan chooses to avoid the bad parts of Morgan's life, and focus on the music. This book is partly a very detailed list of recording sessions and gigs - obviously a lot of legwork was undertaken by McMillan to get this information, and for that we must thank him. He also goes into quite a bit of descriptive detail of most of Morgan's recording sessions, which may or may not be interesting to a reader, depending on how much of an appoggiatura geek they might be - and I'm still not sure what a "splatty" sound is.... While not what I would call a balanced biography, this book does give an overview of Morgan's life, and for the recordings completists out there, this will be about as good a guide as you can get to hunt down every last pressing for your collection. As a hack trumpet player myself, reading this has taken me back to my relatively limited number of Morgan albums with a new insight, a new appreciation for his talent, and with a list of one or two more records I must get. Worth a look if you're interested Check out my other reviews at http://aviewoverthebell.blogspot.com.au/

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    I'm giving 4 stars based on how much the book fueled my interest in the subject, not strictly on literary merit. This is a good academic treatment of a compelling and tragic tale of a prodigal jazz genius. Definitely recommended for Morgan fans, or those interested in New York and Philadelphia jazz scene between the mid-50s and early 70s. Growing up my brother and I were crazy for a record called "Live at the Lighthouse" by the trumpeter Lee Morgan. Over the years Morgan has become a favorite of I'm giving 4 stars based on how much the book fueled my interest in the subject, not strictly on literary merit. This is a good academic treatment of a compelling and tragic tale of a prodigal jazz genius. Definitely recommended for Morgan fans, or those interested in New York and Philadelphia jazz scene between the mid-50s and early 70s. Growing up my brother and I were crazy for a record called "Live at the Lighthouse" by the trumpeter Lee Morgan. Over the years Morgan has become a favorite of mine, bridging the swinging hard bop of the 50s and 60s to freer explorations of Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and Billy Harper that followed. The main biographical fact that I knew was that Morgan was shot dead by a girlfriend at the age of 33 in Slugs, an East Village club. So I was excited to get my hands on a full - length biography. This book did not disappoint. The Philadelphia jazz milieu that Morgan grew up in especially comes to life. Most fans know that John Coltrane was from Philadelphia, but he was just one among dozens of musicians nurtured in a unique ecosystem of teaching and performing venues that cultivated the city's young talent. Morgan sprung from this fully formed at 18 to join Dizzy Gillespie's big band McMillan does not shy away from Morgan's dark side. Known and loved for his brash, exuberant personality and sense of humor (he was known for his practical jokes), years of his short life were lost to a savage heroin addiction. At times he was reduced to pawning his horn and stealing to feed his habit. In this light, the prodigious record of high quality recordings and compositions is even more remarkable. One of the book's strengths is putting Morgan's career in the context of enormous changes in the jazz business during Morgan's working life. He describes how performing venues closed or changed their booking policies in response to shifting public tastes. Morgan was an exception in that he was the rare jazz artist that had a hit record ("The Sidewinder"), but the pressure of the business still must have taken its toll. In the last few years of his life, Morgan became more outspoken on issues of racism and the exclusion of jazz - America's uniquely black artistic expression - from mainstream media. He was one of the leaders of a protest staged at a taping of the Merv Griffin show. I wanted to know more about the circumstances that stimulated his increased political awareness and growing interest in black nationalism. Were there specifc events or fellow musicians that were particularly influential? It may be that only serious fans or scholars read a book like this. Everyone should give the music a listen.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mick Glasgow

    The Procrastinator! He'd write songs on the way to the studio. Great talent that was seemingly effortless but what if he really put in the effort? Doesn't matter, his recorded legacy speaks for itself, amazing trumpeter Lee Morgan. This is a great guide to his career. I'll keep it to refer back to songs described in detail. Loved it! The Procrastinator! He'd write songs on the way to the studio. Great talent that was seemingly effortless but what if he really put in the effort? Doesn't matter, his recorded legacy speaks for itself, amazing trumpeter Lee Morgan. This is a great guide to his career. I'll keep it to refer back to songs described in detail. Loved it!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    To be fair, I picked this up more b/c the author is a friend of mine than b/c of the subject. But I did truly enjoy learning more about Lee - it also gave me a reason to increase my Lee Morgan audio library!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Craig

  6. 5 out of 5

    Steve Griggs

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joe

  8. 5 out of 5

    J.M. Hushour

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    Sam

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    Andrew Boscardin

  11. 5 out of 5

    Phil Foster

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    Robbie Stevens

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ronald

  14. 5 out of 5

    Oyama Mtsi

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    Joe Gorman

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    Christopher

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    Joshua Serbus

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    Lael Wageneck

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    JS Williams

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    Josh Hung

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    James Martin

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    Maurice J

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    Bob Stewart

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    Roger Stolle

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    Fernando Rodriguez

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    Girard Bowe

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    Gordon Ray

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    Heather

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jbondandrews

  30. 4 out of 5

    Glenn Robinson

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    Jeramy Lamanno

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    Greg Caz

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    Charles

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    David

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    Jan

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    Brook

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    Patrice Belmaster

  39. 5 out of 5

    Jus

  40. 5 out of 5

    alannakkash

  41. 5 out of 5

    jahjah

  42. 5 out of 5

    Corey Kendrick

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