On a rainy day last March, I stood on a stage with Frank Morgan at the Berklee College of Music and listened as he played a solo called “Lullaby.” Over the past 12 years or so, I had probably heard him play the song eight different times and eight different ways, either live or on record. And this time was no different. He made the same song a new song. He made it his. He made it unique. He did this because Frank Morgan was unique.
I’m no jazzman. I’m a writer. I had the privilege of being on that stage with Frank because we were asked to come to the school and talk to the students about the connection between music and words, about the origin of creativity. I had met Frank briefly once before and had used his music to score small films I had been involved with. More importantly, I had used his music as personal inspiration. It helped me write a series of novels about a detective who has overcome great obstacles and is relentless in his pursuit of the truth. I knew Frank had overcome great obstacles and was just as relentless in his own pursuit of the truth. You could hear it in every note he played.