Carol Morgan


With the release of Retroactive, trumpeter Carol Morgan embarks on a departure from her previous works, though still in keeping with roots of previous works. Perhaps the most distinguishable marker for Morgan as a player is her phrasing, which she does superbly, and her tone, which is supple, round and most importantly sweet and sensuous, like a vocalist who is drawing every note from the lyric it has to give. Her lines caper and dart, creating a push and pull in the music that elevates the tension and release within the ensemble. Two standards that offer a light and airy quality (one of Morgan’s exceled talents) “Tea for Two” and “Jitterbug Waltz” make use of light and buoyant sound and space which on trumpet requires masterful command. Though many are compared to Miles Davis – It is Carol Morgan that actually channels the premise of his unique sound, while staying true to her own at the same time.

Bossa Nova is an infectious sound that has a sensuality to it that is hard to ignore. On “Into It” the ensemble playfully creates a catchy melody while punctuated by drummer Jeff Sipe and masterfully augmented by Andrew Lienhard on Rhodes. Another highlight is Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks” which gives a textural, bluesy romp with Chris Cortez on slide guitar. Cortez gives the track a funky vibe that creates and pastoral fuzz. A tribute to giant Sonny Rollins is magnificently created in the homage “Wholly-O”. It is here that the legendary Mike Stern immediately layers his rapid fire lines that bop with passion and fire. Lincoln shows why he has earned his stripes with an equally righteous solo.

At times Retroactive straddles the lines of jazz, though not what most traditionalists would call jazz, there are cuts for all to enjoy and Morgan has already proven she has the jazz mainstream bag well in hand. It was nice to hear her stretch beyond the confines of straight ahead jazz and do it with complete authority. A sound for today’s jazz listener and hopefully the wave continues.

Track List: Stern Language; Melody’s Milieu; Tea for Two; When the Levee Breaks; To Be Continued; Into It; Wholly-O; Jitterbug Waltz; Jam; Spirit of God Descend Upon My Heart.

Personnel: Carol Morgan: trumpet; Mike Stern: guitar (1, 3, 5, 7); Chris Cortez: guitar (2, 4, 6, 8 – 10); Andrew Lienhard: Rhodes (4, 6, 8); Lincoln Goines: bass (1, 3, 5, 7); Keith Vivens: bass (2, 4, 6, 8 – 10); Tim Kieper: percussion (3, 5, 7); Jeff Sipe: drums (1, 2, 4, 6, 8 – 10).

Label: Blue Bamboo Music

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H. Allen Williams