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Lee Morgan The Sidewinder

8. Lee Morgan: The Sidewinder (Blue Note, 1964)
“The Sidewinder” is far from the great trumpeter Lee Morgan’s best work. On the other hand, it’s hard to overstate its impact. It was a smash hit, a moment of defiance from the record-buying public against the “new thing” that was taking over ’60s jazz. A success that carried over into use in TV and film, it was perhaps the launch point for the soul-jazz movement that soon began blossoming, and the sales demand it created nearly broke the back of Blue Note Records. And it has endured: “The Sidewinder” still stands in stark prominence, not least because of its compelling hot-sauce flavor. Morgan delivers a breathtaking virtuoso solo, leaving fumes that tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson and pianist Barry Harris burn up mightily. It’s a shame, though, that the “Sidewinder” phenomenon overshadows the rest of the album; the 6/8 smoker “Gary’s Notebook” is a more interesting tune, and the solos on “Boy, What A Night” give the title track a run for its money.

Find The Sidewinder on Amazon, Apple Music, and Walmart.