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Lee Morgan : City Lights


At the ripe old age of 19, Morgan cut the City Lights sessions in August 1957 at Rudy Van Gelder’s Hackensack site. The all-star sextet tackles arrangements provided by the likes of Benny Golson and Gigi Gryce that are a perfect fit to their collective playing.

Curtis Fuller on trombone, George Coleman blowing both alto and tenor, Ray Bryant at the piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Art Taylor’s drumming add to Morgan’s trumpet to produce a classic of ’50s modern jazz. Cut on Classic’s all-tube, pure mono cutting system by Bernie Grundman from the original full-track mono master tapes.

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Signed to the label when he was only 18 years old, this jazz prodigy cut his teeth as a Jazz Messenger with the great Art Blakey. Despite being just nineteen years old at the time of its recording, trumpeter Lee Morgan is front & center and fully in command on this sextet session, playing with all the youthful exuberance of a young man spending a night on the town in the big city. It’s a good set with some fine turns not only from Morgan, but also by Paul Chambers on bass and Ray Bryant on the keys; fans of late 50s Hard Bop in general and Morgan in particular will likely find it an enjoyable albeit not overly memorable listen.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow
Benny Golson’s writing for this date uplifts it beyond most of the jam session sets of the period. Trumpeter Lee Morgan (then 19) is in excellent form, holding his own with his impressive sidemen (trombonist Curtis Fuller, George Coleman on tenor and alto, pianist Ray Bryant, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Art Taylor). Highlights include “City Lights,” “You’re Mine You” and “Just By Myself.”


1.City Lights
2. Tempo De Waltz
3. You’re Mine You
1. Just By Myself
2. Kin Folks


Additional information

Weight 0.550 kg
Dimensions 32.0 × 32.0 × 2.0 cm