The Philadelphia-born trumpeter and superb bop stylist Lee Morgan apprenticed with Dizzy Gillespie and Art Blakey before emerging as a leader in his own right in the early '60s for Blue Note Records. Although Morgan owed stylistic debt to both Gillespie and Clifford Brown, he quickly developed a voice of his own that combined half-valve effects, Latin inflections, and full, fluid melodies. While many of Morgan's later sessions for Blue Note would find him paired with saxophonist Hank Mobley, The Sidewinder features then up-and-coming tenor player Joe Henderson, plus Detroit pianist Barry Harris, bassist Bob Cranshaw, and drummer Billy Higgins.
Along with the title track, an unconventional 24-bar blues, the album's compositional standout is "Totem Pole," a minor Latin groove featuring an outstanding solo by Henderson. This is the kind of relaxed blowing date, invigorated by thoughtful performances, that forms the backbone of the Blue Note catalog. --Fred Goodman (Amazon.com review)
If you ever want to convert a non-fan into a jazz lover, this album would be a good choice to start with. The most underrated jazz musician ever is at his peak and it's hard to stop this disc once you start. Crisp, clean, upbeat jazz in every song. No ballads or muted horns here, this is hardbop at it's best.
1. The Sidewinder 10:25
2. Totem Pole 10:15
3. Gary's Notebook 6:10
4. Boy, What A Night 7:34
5. Hocus-Pocus 6:25
6. Totem Pole (Alternate Take) 9:57