Lee Morgan – ‘The Complete Live At The Lighthouse’

This is the big one, maybe the best box set to come out in years in any genre. A truly gorgeous overall package with extensive liner notes, photos and interviews, this 8-CD set presents the complete four nights of performances by trumpeter Lee Morgan and his quintet live in Los Angeles in 1970. The Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach was for years one of Los Angeles’ most important live jazz spots, the site of many live recordings although none with this level of depth, as each nights sets are here presented in their entirety.

The band, including Harold Mabern on piano, Jymie Merritt on electric upright bass, Mickey Roker on drums and Bennie Maupin on tenor, flute and bass clarinet, was Morgan’s regular unit at the time and they sound completely in synch over the entire weekend. All the tunes were written by the members of the band, the highlight for me being the three separate versions of Jymie Merritt’s ‘Absolutions’. Special praise as well for Bennie Maupin, his bass clarinet playing on ‘Neophilia’ is among his best on record. The tracks are long, some up to 18 minutes, but they never descend into a repetitive jam; this is some of the best live jazz you will ever hear, swinging and always adventurous. It’s the kind of album to sit with over a long period of time, really diving into how this band was operating. I’ve been listening to just one set a night, two or three times to really immerse myself in their sound.

Lee Morgan was several years removed from a crippling drug addiction and was at a creative highpoint during these recordings (and you can see in the many great photos in this box how healthy he looked while hanging out in Hermosa Beach). Lee would sadly leave us in 1971 (as so beautifully documented in the film I Called Him Morgan), but alongside his Blue Note album Search For The New Land, this set will long be remembered as his peak, and proof that at the young age of 33 he already became a jazz legend. —- Mr. OK Jazz



 リー・モーガンは、この時重度の薬物中毒から数年が経過しており、これらのレコーディング時には、クリエイティブな面で最高潮に達していた。その頃の表情もCD内の豊富な写真から窺える。リーは1971年に惜しまれつつもこの世を去ったが、ブルーノートのアルバム『Search For The New Land』と並んでこのセットは彼のピークとして長く記憶され、33歳という若さですでにジャズの伝説となっていたことを証明している。—- Mr. OK Jazz

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