I saw Monk at the Five Spot he said. He saw Trane at some little dive too. I remember walking down the street in Harlem, he said, and there was a piece of paper in a bar room window with a hand written George Benson in letters almost too small to read. Went inside for a beer and heard this young cat just burning on guitar. He was playing jazz back then. I can’t remember who was on the B3. I remember seeing Lee Morgan at the Lighthouse, the other guy said. Bennie Maupin was on tenor. The same band on the LP that’s playing now, listen. I listened: Bennie was cooking, then in comes Lee, solid. I remember the music was so good, he said, and Lee so right on and I was so happy and before I knew it I was drunk. I mean drunk. My ride had split, they were sweeping the floor and stacking the chairs and I had to walk home from Hermosa Beach to Inglewood. Damn man, how far was that? It was twenty miles. Hangover hit me about halfway there. He shook his head at the memory. But man, Lee Morgan sounded so good.
Moanin’ this morning. This take is amazing. Morgan’s got a sound like hot buttered rum here, and Thigpen (one of my very favorite drummers) is almost gutbucket on the snare, loose limbed and utterly unBlakey. Listen to Lee Morgan on the head, though, like he wrote the thing. Hard to believe this was over half a century ago and the players long gone, it’s still so vital, like you could just head uptown tonight and hear it again. Old film opens up jazz like a time capsule, and if you close your eyes for a minute you’re there.
(Thanks to John Altman who, thrilled, passed this along.)