Lee Morgan – Lee-Way (1960)

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This album was recorded in 1960, well before Lee Morgan, among others, became straight-jacketed into providing ‘Sidewinder’-style boogaloo fluff that Alfred Lion front-loaded onto releases to try and sell a few thousand more units through the mid-60’s. Thankfully there is none of that here, just solid tunes and classy performances which makes this a satisfying listen. Morgan and Jackie McLean share the spotlight on the frontline, Morgan’s solo on ‘Midtown Blues’ is wonderfully elastic and McLean smoulders without need for his usual fireworks. But there is plenty of room for everyone to stretch out on each track. Art Blakey’s star turn on ‘Nakatini Suite’ is a highlight and Bobby Timmons keeps it slinky on the gloriously relaxed opener ‘These Are Soulful Days’. Lee-Way might not swing as hard as Morgan’s other dates, nonetheless this is still a classic Blue Note release.


Check out this review by Richard Brody from The New Yorker about the 2016 documentary on the life and death of Lee Morgan by Swedish director Kaspar Collin titled I Called Him Morgan.


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