Enjoyable but not essential
G. M. Jenkins | Mountain View, CA United States | 04/30/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Lee Morgan's The Rumproller, considered to be the follow up album to his smash hit The Sidewinder is an album with plenty of highlights but lacks the classic status.
Pretty much every song has a great groove with very spry bass work by Victor Sproles (one wonders why he wasn't featured more on recordings)and really excellent drumming by one of my favorite drummers, Billy Higgins. His drumming is probably the standout of this album and he maintains the grooves well and plays so creatively and exciting throughout.
Morgan on trumpet and Joe Henderson (on tenor sax) have some really inspired moments (everyone plays superbly on the title cut, Morgan's solo is particularly good) but at times fall short. Ronnie Matthews is enjoyable throughout the album as well and contributes some nice solos.
"The Lady", the sole ballad of the album (and only song that doesn't make you want to move) finds Morgan using a mute to a nice effect.
"Venus Di Mildrew", one of the two Wayne Shorter compositions and the non-album track is a nice straight ahead hard bop tune with strong playing throughout that will have you snapping your fingers.
This is a four star album rather than a five because despite it being a good buy and worth owning, it's not essential. The album lacks the cohesion that some of the other albums by Morgan have and other albums of the genre."
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 09/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Rumproller" is one of Lee Morgan's five finest albums for Blue Note, and considering he made roughly two dozen classics as a leader for the label, that's saying a lot. First, I'd like to put to rest any fears raised by the review below -- the sound is excellent (better than the original CD issue). I don't what that guy's talking about! Now that that's taken care of, I have a little Lee Morgan story to tell. Lee made three amazing albums in late 1963 and early 1964 -- "The Sidewinder," "Search For The New Land" and "Tom Cat." The material on these three discs varies wildly, which is a tribute to Morgan's creative genius. When the song "The Sidewinder" became an international hit in late 1964, everyone at Blue Note desperately wanted to copy its success, especially Lee. Unfortunately, none of the tunes from the albums that he had made earlier that year (mentioned above) had anything resembling the funky, catchy groove of "The Sidewinder." I have even heard from some places that Lee had difficulty coming up with a suitable follow-up himself. Thankfully for all parties Andrew Hill was able to come to the rescue with the song now known as "The Rumproller."Well if it takes a village to raise a child, it took a considerable portion of the Blue Note family to make "The Rumproller." Not only did Andrew Hill write the album's hit title track, but Wayne Shorter contributed two tunes, "Edda" and the CD's bonus track "Venus Di Mildew" (an earlier version than the one that appears on Hank Mobley's "A Caddy For Daddy"). Add to that Morgan's band for the recording of Joe Henderson, Ronnie Matthews, Victor Sproles and Billy Higgins and you've got some of the labels brightest stars. Just as with "The Sidewinder" it's the musical talent and the strength of the album's other songs that makes "The Rumproller" a classic, not the top-40 hit title-track alone. From the gorgeous melody line of "Desert Moonlights," to the scorching calypso groove of "Eclipso," to the bright sunny day feel of "Edda," to Rudy Stevenson's touching ballad "The Lady" (written for Billie Holiday), all these songs are equally as good in their own way as the funky "Rumproller."For years "The Rumproller" was one of Blue Note's most sought after deletions, and most requested CD reissues. Now that it is available again (and hopefully once and for all) through the RVG Series, you should not hesitate in buying this great disc. Get off your rump and start rolling!"