"Frank Morgan," GNP, is the CD to get covering the fine alto saxophonist, whom I caught dueting with John Hicks last week, before drugs and prison sidelined him for 30 years, but here are a couple titles from his remarkable comeback that I like.
"Bop!" from Telarc. Morgan comes down somewhere between the lyricism of Benny Carter and the outside leanings of Jackie McLean. As the title implies, the disk is a collection of bebop standards and includes nice versions of "A Night in Tunisia," "Blue Monk" and "Half Nelson." Monkish piano player Rodney Kendrick compliments Morgan, who gets in some Bird-class runs, well. This CD isn't that hard to find in the U.S., but I happened to buy it at the Paris Jazz Corner, which makes me think of one of my favorite cities, and a great jazz town, whenever I play it.
"City Nights: Live at the Jazz Standard" from High Note. Highlights include a bopped version of "Georgia on My Mind," cool renderings of "All Blues" and "Round Midnight" and stirring runs through Coltrane's "Equinox" and "Impressions." Morgan shows he's still got legs on a speedy (in tempo not length, which is more than 10 minutes) rendition of "Cherokee." George Cables on piano, Curtis Lundy on bass and Billy Hart on drums are outstanding in support.