September 18, 2015

Lee Morgan - Cornbread (1965)

Cornbread follows the same formula many Herbie Hancock-based albums albums do; start with a loose, funky opener and then shift gears and go into some next level shit. The lineup isn't too convincing at first glance since McLean and Mobley's flat tones wouldn't usually match up too well, but Herbie's free thinking and the snare gallop Higgins' used plenty on his work with Ornette turn this into hard bop once removed--giving the horns a lot of room to sound how they want. Cornbread reminds me of McLean's fantastic Blue Note debut, New Soil; real bluesy and boppy, but still influenced by Ornette Coleman, Thelonious Monk, and Cecil Taylor's weirdness. And let's not forget how Lee was still dominating the trumpet power-rankings in 1965 and becoming even more mature in his ability to play a damn nice ballad.