Lee Morgan: Zambia

Track

Zambia

Artist

Lee Morgan (trumpet)

CD

Delightfulee (Blue Note 92770)

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Musicians:

Lee Morgan (trumpet), Joe Henderson (tenor sax), McCoy Tyner (piano), Bob Cranshaw (bass), Billy Higgins (drums).

Composed by Lee Morgan

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Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, May 27, 1966

Albumcoverleemorgan-delightfulee

Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

In a 2006 interview by Ethan Iverson, drummer Billy Hart mentions that he once asked Lee Morgan about "The Sidewinder," and Morgan replied, "Yeah, man, ain't that a bitch? I played all this hip music, and we threw this other shit together just to finish out the record, and that becomes the hit. My first hit had to be some dumb shit like that." Of course, that "dumb shit" (which was actually quite good) helped pay the bills and enabled Morgan to record such less commercial tracks as "Zambia." This was one of many tunes with African titles on 1960s jazz releases, each acknowledging the drive towards independence throughout Africa that coincided with the Civil Rights movement in the U.S. The rhythmic content, however, is anything but African, as the swaying call-and-response theme is played with a Latin-flavored beat before going to straight 4/4 once the solos begin. Henderson runs the gamut, with slithery, sometimes funky lines, vocalized phrases, and high-pitched, dissonant shrieks. Morgan hits the ground running, his exclamatory riffs and swirling passages played with an exceptional, piercing yet rounded tone. Tyner's compelling short statement, and energetic exchanges between Morgan and Higgins are the remaining highlights of this invigorating performance. (For a different take, hear the Oliver Nelson-arranged big band version on the same CD.)

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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