Larry Young (with Lee Morgan): Trip Merchant


Trip Merchant


Mother Ship (Blue Note 90415)

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Larry Young (Khalid Yasin) (organ), Lee Morgan (trumpet), Herbert Morgan (tenor sax), Eddie Gladden (drums).

Composed by Larry Young


Recorded: Hackensack, NJ, February 7, 1969


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

Though Lee Morgan didn’t incorporate elements of the avant-garde in his own groups until late in his career, his resourceful and multi-faceted playing earned him sideman slots on such adventurous records as Grachan Moncur III’s Evolution (1963), Andrew Hill’s Grass Roots (1968), and Mother Ship, by the iconoclastic organist Larry Young. With loose rhythm and minimal blues inflections, Morgan’s solo on Young’s “Trip Merchant” strays far from the “in-the-pocket” playing that defined his improvisations throughout his career. This just might be as “out” as he would ever get.

After a spacey, explorative solo by the leader, Morgan begins contemplatively, ruminating on the pentatonic scale over Young’s pedal bass footwork. He is swept higher and higher on the organist’s tornado-like chords, intensifying and extending his half-step motive into a cathartic, shrieking trill. A chromatic descent preludes Morgan’s examination of the open nature of Young’s sustained chords, utilizing an uncharacteristic amount of dissonance before returning to pentatonics to close out his exhausting solo. Young’s playing is stimulating and drummer Eddie Gladden’s cymbal texturing and communicable energy is notable throughout. An exciting and important solo in his vast discography, “Trip Merchant” shows Morgan developing a new dimension in his playing that would unfortunately never become fully realized.

Reviewer: Matt Leskovic

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