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date: 20 February 2020

Morgan, Lee (jazz)locked

  • revised by Michael James
  • Barry Kernfeld


(b Philadelphia, July 10, 1938; d New York, Feb 19, 1972). American trumpeter. His father played piano for their church choir. Morgan began playing professionally in Philadelphia at the age of 15. In autumn 1956 he became a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers for a few weeks before joining, in New York, Dizzy Gillespie’s orchestra, with which he remained until it disbanded in January 1958. He worked again with Blakey from autumn 1958 to 1961 and, after playing mainly in Philadelphia (until 1963), from 1964 to 1965. Three of his television appearances with Blakey from these years have been preserved on video. Morgan then performed as a freelance, generally with his own groups. In 1970–71 he was active in the Jazz and People’s Movement, in which capacity he disrupted television talk shows to protest the absence of jazz on television; in an interview published posthumously he gave an articulate explanation of the goals of this short-lived movement and conveyed his intense devotion to jazz. He was shot dead by a woman friend at Slugs, a nightclub in New York....

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