February 19: Jazz Trumpeter Lee Morgan Died at the Age of 33 on This Date in 1972

0 Posted by - February 19, 2022 - BLACK MUSIC, Gone But Not Forgotten, On This Date

By Victor Trammell

Photo credits: Blue Note Records

Edward Lee Morgan (known professionally as Lee Morgan) was a jazz trumpet player and composer from the United States.

On July 10, 1938, he was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was one of the most legendary hard bop composers of the 1960s. Morgan rose to fame in his late adolescence. Before embarking on a solo career, he recorded on John Coltrane’s Blue Train (1957) and with drummer Art Blakey’s ensemble.

Morgan remained with Blakey until 1961 and began recording as a bandleader in the late 1950s.

In 1964, his song “The Sidewinder,” from the same-named album, became an unexpected crossover smash on the pop and R&B charts. As his skills progressed, Morgan’s later records saw him experimenting with different types of music, such as post-bop and avant-garde jazz. Soon after the release of The Sidewinder,

Morgan briefly reconnected with Blakey. Morgan continued to perform as a leader and sideman with the likes of Hank Mobley and Wayne Shorter after leaving Blakey for the final time, becoming a cornerstone of the famed Blue Note jazz record company.

Morgan was shot and killed by his common-law wife Helen Morgan during an argument at Slugs’ Saloon in New York City. He was only 33 years old.


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