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Lee Way Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, August 27, 2002
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 27, 2002)
  • Rmst ed. edition
  • Original Release Date: 1960
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Blue Note
  • ASIN: B00006C77E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,781 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By G. Schramke on August 29, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Lee Morgan was one of the most frequently recorded artists on the Blue Note label. Even if this session didn't become a hit like, let's say "The Sidewinder", I immediatly liked the music very much. With such experienced sidemen like Jackie McLean, Bobby Timmons, Paul Chambers and Art Blakey, it's clear that something exiting will happen, they really stretch out on each of the four tracks. Lee Morgan is particularly fascinating on "Midtown Blues": In the middle of his solo, he introduces something otherwise often used by Sonny Rollins, when he bursts out spontanously, frequently returning to the tonic, as someone exploring all his possibilities and nevertheless going "back to the roots". Jackie McLean is superb as always. Here it seems that he gets a somewhat "smoother" sound than usually, he starts his solos on the deep register of his instrument, almost sounding like a tenor sax. Timmons, Chambers and Blakey are also great as ever, and dig the two composition by Cal Massey (" These are soulful days" and "Nakatini Suite"), they are really beautiful tunes from a nearly forgotten composer, who was a favorite by many jazz musicians of that period.
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Format: Audio CD
"Leeway" is a terrific hard bop album, and Lee Morgan's best pre-Sidewinder recording. The personnel on this session from April 1960 is Jackie McLean on alto sax, Bobby Timmons on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Art Blakey on drums. All these musicians play in top form, but it is Jackie and Art that make the session. Sometimes Jackie can sound a little flat, but not at all here, and Blakey's drumming provides the solid backbone this group needs, yet he always knows the best spot for the appropriate fill and flourish. The tunes are all great driving boppers with two of them, "These Are Soulful Days" and "Nakatini Suite," authored by Lee's Philadelphia colleague Cal Massey. "The Lion and the Wolff" is Lee's tribute to Blue Note founders Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff, while Jackie wrote "Midtown Blues." All in all, "Leeway" is a classic Blue Note session that thankfully has resurfaced in the RVG series.
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Format: Audio CD
Not sure I'd agree with the previous reviewer that this 1960 session is Morgan's best before "Sidewinder" (1957 was a kind year to Lee, marked by at least three outstanding albums under his leadership), but it's his best between 1957 and 1963 (or, if you prefer, his first significant outing as a post-teen trumpet player). As Mr. Richmond points out, Jackie McClean tempers his sound, removing the acidity that can make it seem intrusive or even dominating. Chambers and Blakey were infrequent rhythm partners, but they complement one another beautifully. Paul has the first solo on the date, making a melodic statement that holds Bu in check but not enough to blunt his forceful, assured and reassuring pulse. Timmons is heard to far greater effect here than on either his dates with Cannonball or the famous "Moanin'" session with Blakey. He plays swinging, lilting single-note lines worthy of a Wynton Kelley and takes spread-out block-chorded choruses on brisk tempos that would scare away all players save a Red Garland.

Morgan is a quintessential team player on the date, yet contributing stellar if at times rough-edged solos, equal parts fire and warmth. Listen to the beauty of his fat lower register on "Mid-Town Blues," but note how the piece is stamped as much by Chambers' melodic ideas as any other member of the quintet. If there were ever any doubt about the critical importance of Paul Chambers both as a bass player and as a component in the groups of Miles Davis throughout the '50s and into the early '60s, this recording, perhaps more than any other, is sufficient to dispel them. Although he could on occasion allow his attention to wander, on this date his time is catalytic and rock solid, his solo contributions inventive yet economical.
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Format: Audio CD
Lee-Way is another fine effort from trumpeter Lee Morgan. On this should-be classic session from 1960, he finds himself in the company of several of his Jazz Messenger counterparts, namely the great Art Blakey on drums, Bobby Timmons on piano, and ex-Messenger Jackie McLean on alto sax. The group is rounded out by the eminently recordable Paul Chambers on bass.

This session also features two sterling contributions from Cal Massey, the aptly titled "These Are Soulful Days", music as evocative as its title, and "Nakatini Suite". Both are excellent extended compositions which give the musicians plenty of room to shine. Check out Mr. PC's excellent bass solo on the former. Morgan contributed the piece "The Lion and The Wolff", so named for Blue Note founders Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff. This tune is prefaced by a great Bobby Timmons intro that really sets the mood. Art Blakey turns in an explosive drum solo at the end of this piece that is not to be missed. The other selection, "Midtown Blues", was penned by McLean. Jackie Mac is in fine form throughout the session, his bittersweet tone leaning more toward the sweet. His solo on "These Are Soulful Days" is one of his finest. While not as strident here as on his own recordings, Blakey holds the pulse of the session in his hands. Bobby Timmons also sounds fantastic here, turning in some fine work. As usual, Lee Morgan plays an excellent full-bodied trumpet. I found this album to be somewhat similar in feel to Tom Cat, which features some of the same performers. One would be hard pressed to find as much enjoyment as can be found in these fine four tracks.
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