Lee Morgan: Trapped




Lee Morgan (trumpet)


The Gigolo (Blue Note 84212)

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Lee Morgan (trumpet), Wayne Shorter (tenor sax), Harold Mabern (piano), Bob Cranshaw (bass), Billy Higgins (drums).

Composed by Wayne Shorter


Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, June 25, 1965


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

When paired together in a frontline, Wayne Shorter and Lee Morgan never disappointed. Shorter’s compositions consistently lured the best out of Morgan and the cookin’ 16-bar “Trapped” is no exception. Supported by the insistent but always tasteful prodding of his favorite drummer, Billy Higgins, Morgan’s solo is one of his boldest from the mid-1960s. At this point in his career he rarely exploited his high-range so heavily and the results here are staggering—an incredible exhibition of technical virtuosity, stamina, intensity and searing power.

Countless numbers of Morgan’s tracks conclude with the trumpeter trading with one or more of his bandmates, and honestly, it never ever gets old. Morgan and Shorter, at the time partnered in the Jazz Messengers, return after Mabern’s piano solo to display a communicative interplay so complementary and seamless their lines sound like they must have originated in a shared brain. It’s freakish.

Could Morgan’s overtly inspired playing on the dubiously titled “Trapped” hint at a frustration with Blue Note’s commercial aspirations in the post-“Sidewinder” era? Did the pressure to churn out another jukebox hit hold him back? These are questions for another forum. Regardless, the trumpeter’s playing here is ferocious and some of his finest on record.

Reviewer: Matt Leskovic

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