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Album Review

The Birth of Hard Bop explores Savoy sessions from tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley and trumpeters Donald Byrd and Lee Morgan early in their careers. The majority of material has been previously released, however five alternate and previously unissued takes are included. Recorded between January and November 1956, with Mobley as the leader, playing on all tracks except the first three which fall under Byrd's leadership. Morgan's contributions surface on the last seven tracks, again under Mobley's leadership and excluding Byrd. The list of sidemen are hard bop (and bop) pioneers including Horace Silver, Barry Harris, Doug Watkins, Kenny Clarke, Hank Jones, and Arthur Taylor. This is a welcomed reissue with great sound and informative liner notes by Doug Ramsey in which the stifling term "hard bop" is thoroughly examined.

Biography

Born: 10 July 1938 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s

A cornerstone of the Blue Note label roster prior to his tragic demise, Lee Morgan was one of hard bop's greatest trumpeters, and indeed one of the finest of the '60s. An all-around master of his instrument modeled after Clifford Brown, Morgan boasted an effortless, virtuosic technique and a full, supple, muscular tone that was just as powerful in the high register. His playing was always emotionally charged, regardless of the specific mood: cocky and exuberant on up-tempo groovers, blistering on...
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