Daily News Blues
Reprinted from JazzImprov Magazine; Volume 3, Number 3: Ralph Morgan/ Brian Moore Jazz Duo DAILY NEWS BLUES--Ralph Morgan Jazz; released 2001. Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise; Stella by Starlight; Daily News Blues; Waltz for Debby; Sugar; Moanin'; Wave; Nardis; Morning; Tribute to Eddie & Charlie; Dat Dere. PERSONNEL: Ralph Morgan, piano; Brian Moore, bass. By John Barrett, Jr. '...his energy is unstoppable' Picture yourself in a club: it's a big, open room, and you're the only customer. '..... Morning Sunrise' starts casually, like you arrived before the tune began. Ralph Morgan is juggling busy chords on the right, strong single notes on the left. He leans toward the blues without going the distance; now Brian Moore enters, at a fast walk. The piano turns slinky; phrases are stretched long, then made to hurry. The bass holds it's ground. The theme returns in pounded chords, slightly sour, but also swinging. The bass keeps-a-walkin'. This is the old style: classic tunes, played by men who mean business. Back at the club, you find a seat, and plan to stay a while. '...Starlight' takes time to sparkle. Morgan starts and stops suddenly; Moore builds a stead hum behind him. Ralph moves up the scale, adds a little boogie, and brings on the sweet chords. (He loves to jab fast notes with the left hand; it makes up for the absent drummer). 'Waltz for Debby' starts very thick, running so fast, Ralph has to catch his breath. He prowls the lower keys, churning with vigor-when the high notes ring, they sound like gold. 'Wave' is anchored by Brian's baiao; the theme is wispy, written in the clouds somewhere. Morgan keeps to the high keys, playing pretty and simply; wait for the end, where he stomps with an attitude. 'Eddie & Charlie' is a big montuno, dedicated to the brothers Palmieri. Brian is wonderful-on the bridge, he creeps upward, as Ralph tumbles in descent. Proud at first, the chords gradually turn warmer, and after that, intimate. The tune fades gently-returning in a false ending, stronger than ever. You'll stand up and cheer, if you can stop dancing. While Ralph doesn't copy any one pianist, this student of Joanne Brackeen is clearly fond also of Bobby Timmons. 'Daily News Blues' is a funky waltz, based on 'This Here'; Moore plays the Sam Jones riff from Cannon's version. Morgan's solo is full of bright flashes, interspersed with juicy slides. (The final moments are soft and full of echo; hear the song dissolve in a fog.) There's a slight miscue at the start of 'Moanin'', but that won't stop the mood. At his most assured, Ralph explores the lonely night, finding the blues in every comer. As a bonus, you get Brian's best walk. Turrentine's 'Sugar' is served with rolls-there's a fast trill at the end of every phrase. His left hand is silent, letting Moore walk low as he hits the roof. The finale is 'Dat Dere,' rather fast and furious. Get out of Ralph's way: when the tunes are right, his energy is unstoppable. And, if you like soul jazz, you won't want him to stop. Jazz Improv©, P.O. Box 57, Grafton, VT 05146-0057 Jazz pianist Ralph Morgan, accompanied by Brian Moore, has been playing for years in the lobby of a well known midtown Manhattan building. The incredible reception given to their treatment of original music and jazz standards by a bustling lunchtime crowd led to the release of this CD. When you can slow New Yorkers down and actually inspire them to give up their lunch hour to stop and hear music, that is saying something. Whether they tackle straight ahead blues, like the title track in 6/8 time, or go where few others dare, like Bill Evans' 'Waltz For Debby,' there are always two constants: improvisation & swing. They put their own spin on 'Wave,' the Brazilian classic, and then do a salsa piano tribute to Eddie & Charlie Palmieri, the great New York Latin pianist brothers. They romp through several Bobby Timmons' tunes, 'Moanin',' and 'Dat Dere,' with very cool & original results. After special treatments of standards like 'Stella By Starlight,' and 'Softly As In A Morning Sunrise,' they churn out a funky rendition of Stanley Turrentine's 'Sugar.' No matter how far these two veer off from the musical straight & narrow, their experience playing together brings them back to the center of the road instantly, with a straight ahead groove. This album was recorded in real time, with no second takes or editing, in Brooklyn, New York, in 1999. When you sample the tunes on the left, I'm sure you'll want to buy a copy! Ralph Morgan and album info: RalphMorganJazz@aol.com Brian Moore: firstname.lastname@example.org.