Lee Morgan: The Sidewinder
Lee Morgan (1938-1972) was an American jazz trumpeter whose career and life had all the hallmarks and stereotypes of a great Bop musician. He recorded prolifically, developed the genre stylistically and technically, struggled with drugs, and was ultimately shot and killed by his common law wife Helen More (Morgan) while prepping the stage for a concert.
His record The Sidewinder (1963) is one of my favorites from the artists long list of works, and is commonly considered to be part of the core curriculum for jazz listening. The title track opens the record and pretty much defines the sound of all six cuts. At this point in the 1960's Hard Bop and Lee Morgan were pushing for the Boogaloo sound and The Sidewinder is an exemplary example. Boogaloo is an aggregate dance sound that combines Latin elements with R&B and Soul music. If you're having a hard time pin pointing exactly what that means, another famous example of this music is Herbie Hancock's Watermelon Man?. What I dig about this record is the slow groove and repetition of the piano motive. As a listener, the pocket is dead set can't miss groovy, and we all just kind of sit in it and listen as the musicians weave in and out of it as they speak their piece in the improvisations. Another thing that is so successful about this track is that the repetition makes the music immediately understandable. It clears a chanel for the listener to get comfortable right away so that they may pay attention to the music happening within the form.
Turn it on, turn it up, and get groovy. This record is a perfect fit for a throwdown in the kitcken, but I also wouldn't miss the oppertunity to add this to your next work out mixtape. Music like this was always a favorite of mine for a tempo run through the city or on the tredmill. Its all about the groove – you dig?