Friday, December 21, 2007

R.I.P.: Frank Morgan

Frank Morgan (alto saxophone)
(b: 23.Dec.1933, Minneapolis/MN; d: 14.Dec.2007, Minneapolis/MN)

The alto saxophonist Frank Morgan died December 14th in Minneapolis at the age of 73. Morgan was a protégé of Charlie Parker and for a couple of nights even sat in with Duke Ellington's band. He worked with Lionel Hampton's band and made his first recordings in the early 1950s with Milt Jackson, Kenny Clarke and Wardell Gray. He then spent 30 years in prison for narcotic offences. Only in 1985 his career really took off when he had left his drug habit behind and signed a new contract with Fantasy Records (through the revived Contemporary label).

My personal favorites are the CDs "Double Image" (a haunting duo set from 1986, with pianist George Cables, which includes Ivan Lins/Gilson Peranzzetta's "Love Dance") and "Major Changes", the fantastic result of a meeting with the McCoy Tyner Trio, produced by Richard Bock in 1987. Frank Morgan also collaborated with such artists as Abbey Lincoln, Terry Gibbs, Wynton Marsalis and Buster Williams. He was featured (alongside Azymuth and Claudio Roditi) on Mark Murphy's "Night Mood - The Music of Ivan Lins", arranged by keyboard wiz José Roberto Bertrami in 1986. Obituary:, The Independent, Washington Post, New York Sun, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle.

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