Lee leaves space for Chambers and Cal Massey--and they deliv
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 01/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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.
The invisible member on the date is the hard-luck, struggling and obscure musician-composer Cal Massey, who accounts for half of the program, both of his compositions heard to greater advantage here than on any other recording. Nat Hentoff's laudatory and sympathetic liner notes perhaps explain why he would subsequently arrange for Massey to have his own recording session ("Blues to Coltrane"). They do not, however, clarify why the writer-critic-producer did nothing about seeing it to release (it was eventually issued posthumously)."
Jack Baker | LeRoy,IL | 05/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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.
Great remaster, blows the RVG away
E. K. Everts | München | 04/29/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD sounds amazing, I have only listened to the CD part and not to the SACD part, but I'm completely convinced I want to buy them all. If I have enough money and if my wife lets me, that is.
Buy it before it gets out of print and the price goes up."