Jose Reyes

Jose Reyes

Lee Morgan’s Most Incredible Two-Year/Seven Recording Spree

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Lee Morgan along with a combination of legendary musicians contributed together to produce 7 very significant albums in the middle of the 60’s. These “musical pioneers” achieved this feat in only two years, 1965 and 1966! This was during defining times in the United States, where racial inequality, cultural change and political clashes was on the forefront and had to be addressed. Their approach was considerably different compared to the direction other musicians took in those critical years. Some might disagree with the “attitude” Jazz had taken and felt the “tone” was not “loud” enough for all the racial turmoil taking place in the mid sixties. I’m sure many actually believed they were too “easy” going and too “neutral” with all the “choosing” of sides taking place in America. It was a mess, the New Generation vs the Old Generation, the Blacks vs the Whites, Vietnam vs No Vietnam and the Far-Right vs the Far- Left. The “United” States was turned upside down and in turmoil while these Jazz musicians were creating historical Jazz tunes that were mostly ignored by the “general” public. Could it be because no words were sung when performing these exceptional works of art? Or could it maybe be because the “general” public was too preoccupied in “voicing” out their opinion and “contradicting” each other on all different levels?

TheRomprollerTheGigolo

Here’s “Edda” from “The Rumproller” Learn more…:

Here’s “Trapped” from “The Gigolo” Learn more…:

Oh yes, I agree wholeheartedly, its definitely very positive to voice your opinions about a “specific” agenda and with the “intention” to come to a universal “unbiased” agreement. That’s the whole purpose of the arguments and the true manner to “fix” an ongoing problem that affects the lives of people who are living among each other and who like it or not, must “depend” on each other in one way or the other.

That is where Jazz differs and where it stands tall from the “general” public and with dignity for all who follow and “understand” it. Race, religion, young or old and political preference “don’t” matter one bit! The Jazz fan could not be more luckier than to stumble upon the most “influentially positive” music ever created. Everything about Jazz is emotionally beautiful and “spiritually” healing for whoever listens to it. Jazz is the answer, Jazz has no barriers, no obstacles, no prejudice, no right or wrong, no opinion, no human status, no young or old, no nothing! Jazz is respectable and respected, it stands on a pedestal on its own with a strong foundation holding it up with the Jazz aficionados firmly supporting it. Why is it so powerful, so withstanding, you might ask? I feel a short brief history of Jazz would probably be the best explanation and answer to this question.

CornbreadInfinityCover

Here’s “Cornbread” from “Cornbread” Learn more…:

Here’s “Growing Pains” from “Infinity” Learn more…:

Jazz began to take shape in the early 1900’s in New Orleans and immediately was ridiculed and criticized. Jazz was not welcomed, it was not considered to be “officially” categorized as a new “type” of music and mainly because it was improvised. You see, these Jazz musicians were performing with instruments designed to be played in marching bands and in classical auditoriums. It was different and generally unaccepted by the “general” public because the sounds coming out of these instruments were different, that’s basically why, same instrument but different sounds. Because of this disapproval, Jazz took to the underground and could only be enjoyed in an adult atmosphere within the walls of a drinking establishment, bars, taverns, etc. It reached its first acceptance in the 20’s but continued to be classified as indecent. The musicians playing it began to flourish but had no way to support themselves. It slowly began moving up the Mississippi river and into the Kansas City area. Let’s not forget that most of these Jazz musicians were African-American and discrimination down south was rampant. The small clubs and bars was the best place to hear Jazz because it was performed and conducted in its purist form, in heavy “jam sessions” and with plenty of improvisation. In the mid 30’s Jazz separated and took two directions, one was Chicago and the other was New York. The Big Band era was in full swing in big thriving dance halls and flourished for a short during prohibition by way of the Speakeasy. The big ensembles continued into the 40’s to a point in where the unique creativity of Jazz, improvisation, was in complete jeopardy. It was now under direct attack from the concept of “Popularization.” The days of small venues with intense jam sessions had become almost extinct. The concept of individuality fueled by improvisation was close to reaching the point of no return and on the verge of complete eradication.

DelightfuleeCharismaTheRajahCovers

Here’s “Nite-Flite” from “Delightfulee” Learn more…:

Here’s “Honey Bee” from “Charisma” Learn more…:

Here’s “A Pilgrim’s Funny Farm” from “The Rajah” Learn more…:

Then came a miracle in the mid 40’s, when a group of musical geniuses created a double time technique and gave the name of their new invention Bebop.” Jazz was back, as its leftover survivors from the anguish of the “Pop” ranking big band era found an escape hatch. They were joined by their up and coming young successors in the early 50’s and Bebop transformed into “Hard Bop.” All the talented musicians featured on these 7 recordings came onto the scene in the mid 50’s and continued on to prosper into the 60’s. Jazz flourished throughout the 60’s no matter how much the country changed. Jazz actually became a safe haven for those who wanted to escape the political, moral and racial indifference that filled the streets with protest. By no means was this any sort of “cop out,” everyone was still involved and paying close attention to their own agenda, although Jazz did and always will shed a true positive light upon those who admire it. Listening to Jazz was and still is. as I mentioned before, the best manner to cope with any problem, good or bad, happy or sad. It deals specifically and in depth with human “feelings,” emotional and spiritual, that’s the “beauty” of Jazz. As for the subject of racism, there is none and there never was within Jazz fans themselves. Its a much different perspective with Jazz fans, just go into a place where Jazz is playing and look at the people who are there, look at the interaction between them. Jazz is COOL and you can’t beat that!

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- Larry- San Diego, California (USA)
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