In the earlier days of my blog, I had an entire series on the Hard Bop period of Jazz. I haven’t written a lot about it recently.
I’m not sure why. Probably because I just haven’t listened to it as much recently. Without noticing, I saw my listening preferences subtly move towards even more classical music, with less emphasis on Jazz.
However, whenever I return to one of my hard bop classics, I can’t help but just truly enjoy the experience. It is a much more visceral enjoyment, compared to the sometimes more intellectual appreciation of some of my classical albums (not that classical music cannot be truly emotional).
Nicely enough, many of the old classics are now being remastered and re-released, which typically gets me to buy the same album again. As is the case in this one.
Lee Morgan: Delightfulee (Blue Note 1966)
Lee Morgan is mostly known for his legendary album The Sidewinder (see my review here), which I included in my 25 Essential Jazz albums list, but not only he’s been a fantastic sideman on a lot of great albums, including the other legendary classic, Moanin‘ (yes, Morgan is yet another Jazz Messengers alumnus).
This album was recorded in 1966, probably the last year before Jazz descended on what to me are the dark ages of free and fusion (I’ve discussed this extensively on this blog that I barely listen to any Jazz albums between 1966 and 1980 approximately, with some exceptions to confirm the rule).
The very first track is already something I truly love, Ca-Lee-So, in the latin inspired Calypso style. This song, in my humble opinion, beats even the most famous Jazz Calypso of all, Sonny Rollins St. Thomas from the album Saxophone Colossus that was recorded 10 years earlier, and I believe contributed to make this style popular.
Yesterday starts a bit on the cheesy side admittedly. Once you get through the intro, it really gets better, giving time to the individual soloist to dissect the harmony of this classic.
Sunrise, Sunset, is just very solid swing, one that if you’re not tapping your foot to it, you are really missing the point.
Another highlight to me is Nite Flite, with its beautiful modal approach. It is also the longest track on the album, which confirms my theory that the longest tracks are often among the best (they just give more time for the soloists to develop their ideas, in this case particularly to the brilliant Joe Henderson, but McCoyTyner also gets plenty of air time).
Overall, a very aptly named album.
My rating: 4 stars
You can find it here (Qobuz)