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Indestructible (1964)

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Lee Morgan

Lee Morgan once again became part of the Jazz Messengers after replacing Freddie Hubbard, who left after replacing Morgan originally. The band is rounded out by pianist Cedar Walton, a steaming Wayne Shorter on tenor, Curtis Fuller on trombone, and bassist Reggie Workman with Art Blakey on the skins, of course. Indestructible is a hard-blowing blues 'n' bop date with Shorter taking his own solos to the outside a bit, and with Blakey allowing some of Fuller's longer, suite-like modal compositional work into the mix as well ("The Egyptian" and "Sortie"). There are plenty of hard swinging grooves-- an off-Latin funk à la Morgan's "Calling Miss Kadija," Shorter's killer "Mr. Jin," and Walton's ballad-cum-post-bop sprint "When Love Is New" -- and the Blakey drive is in full effect, making this album comes closest in feel to the Moanin' sessions with Bobby Timmons. Here the balance of soul groove and innovative tough bop are about equal. Morgan lends great intensity to this date by being such a perfect foil for Shorter, and their trading of fours and eights in "Sortie" is one of the disc's many high points. Morgan's bluesed-out modal frame is already in evidence here as he was beginning to stretch beyond the parameters of the 12-bar frame and into music from other spaces and times. ~ Thom Jurek