Recent listening, current

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

11. Frank Morgan / Love, Lost & Found (1995)

Love, Lost & Found is a slow burn with real rewards. It's a lot of ballads, but the group is too good to pigeon hole the set as "just" a bunch of ballads. In fact, if you look at the playlist, you'll find they're actually love songs. The group is ideally constructed. Morgan's alto playing is mature and sublimely emotional. He glides through syrupy phrases and slick double-time runs with finesse. His technique sounds like he is actually speaking through the horn, emoting his blues. Support on the album is much the same: from Ray Brown, soloing early in "The Nearness of You," and Cedar Walton, who blocks his way through comps and guides the songs rhythmically much the way that Red Garland once did. Billy Higgins works closely with Brown and uses a combination of brushes and hard sticks to create the perfect swinging, lovesick and rainy percussive accompaniment. There's some variety too, like the Latin-inflected groove of "What is this Thing Called Love?" or dark blues of Anton Carlos Jobim's "Once I Loved." As far as Morgan goes, Yardbird Suite is excellent, but don't overlook this album, either.

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