The songs of late Renaissance and early Baroque England have been sliced and diced in various ways in concert and recorded programming, but the configuration here seems to be unique. The tenor Nicholas Phan, from Ann Arbor, Michigan, devised the program himself: pointing out "how little human experience has changed over the centuries" and that Dowland's melancholia had much in common with the Romantics' veneration of the lovesick solitary hero (both debatable ideas, but both stimulating), he assembles what he calls a pastiche song cycle from compositions by Purcell, Dowland, John Blow, and other lesser-known lights.
Carried by its almost impossibly infectious eponymous opening track, The Sidewinder helped foreshadow the sounds of boogaloo and soul-jazz with its healthy R&B influence and Latin tinge. While the rest of the album retreats to a more conventional hard bop sound, Morgan's compositions are forward-thinking and universally solid. Only 25 at the time of its release, Morgan was accomplished (and perhaps cocky) enough to speak of mentoring the great Joe Henderson, who at 26 was just beginning to play dates with Blue Note after getting out of the military. Henderson makes a major contribution to the album, especially on "Totem Pole," where his solos showed off his singular style, threatening to upstage Morgan, who is also fairly impressive here.
2009 release from the Jazz great containing Smith's complete classic Sermon sessions, in chronological order, together for the first time ever on a single set. These are his only preserved collaborations with Lee Morgan, the formidable trumpet player whose life came to a tragic end after being shot by his girlfriend at the tender age of 33. Tenor saxophonist Tina Brooks is also featured here. The outstanding reedman would pass away at the age of 42 after a life of drug addiction and self abuse. The great Jimmy Smiths was a Jazz musician whose performances on the Hammond B-3 electric organ helped to popularize this instrument.
MORGAN was formed in the early '70s by two musicians (Morgan Fisher and Maurice Bacon) who had played in the late sixties British pop group The Soul Survivors (a pretty good semi-pro soul band) that became The Love Affair (the hit pop band of "Everlasting Love" fame, whose singer Steve Ellis left when he realised that the soul had gone and pop had taken over) and later L.A. (the prog version of the previous band, with a new singer). L.A. failed in terms of sales because their largely pop audience couldn't understand what they were up to, playing in 5/4 and so on.