Lee Morgan: Ceora




Lee Morgan (trumpet)


Cornbread (Blue Note 84222)

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Lee Morgan (trumpet), Hank Mobley (tenor sax), Herbie Hancock (piano), Larry Ridley (bass), Billy Higgins (drums).

Composed by Lee Morgan


Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, September 18, 1965


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

While “The Sidewinder” may have been his biggest hit, “Ceora” is Lee Morgan’s most enduring contribution to the jazz canon. By 1965 Morgan had built a reputation as a fiery trumpeter with a style that was half flash and half funk, so the lovely, balladic “Ceora” was an unlikely centerpiece on Cornbread—a hard grooving album of heavy hitters like the title track. Whatever “Ceora” lacks in explicit passion is made up for with its transcendent beauty, which begins immediately on beat one of Hancock’s pristine intro, setting the mood with exactly sixty seconds of pure, understated bliss. With its syncopation and intervallic jumps, Morgan and Mobley’s melody is deceptively restless but Hancock’s splendid comping and Higgins’ gentle brushwork and soothing bossa groove smooth down its spiked edges. Morgan retains the edginess in his improvisation—heavily accented and articulated with grace notes and a defiant tug-of-war with the time—but his charming lyricism makes this one of his most singable solos. Essential 1960s jazz.

Reviewer: Matt Leskovic

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