Saturday, December 15, 2007

RIP Frank Morgan

Alto saxophonist Frank Morgan, often thought of as one of the closest stylistic links to Bird, passed away this week. (via Rifftides)

When I was first starting to play the saxohpone in 1988 or so, Frank Morgan was in the midst of a comeback after a long string of trips to prison and rehab. For much of his career, he was an enormous devotee of Charlie Parker, imitating his sound, his licks, and eventually his habit. Unlike Bird, he shook heroin and stayed clean for the last thirty years of his life. I found Morgan due to the pub he was getting at the time, and used to listen to his Lovesome Thing album a lot. In college I distanced myself from a lot of music, including Morgan, but I've heard him some on the radio recently, and been really taken by his unusual dark sound. He'll always be identified with Bird, but that definition no longer seemed to own him.

Doug's obit is warm and spot on. We're blessed my his presence while he was here.

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