The Sidewinder

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For the Lee Morgan song, see The Sidewinder (song).
The Sidewinder
Studio album by Lee Morgan
Released 1964
Recorded December 21, 1963
Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs
Genre Jazz, hard bop
Length 40:59
Label Blue Note
BST 84157
Producer Alfred Lion
Lee Morgan chronology
Take Twelve
(1962)
The Sidewinder
(1964)
Search for the New Land
(1964)

The Sidewinder is a 1964 album by the jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan, recorded at the Van Gelder Studio in Englewood, New Jersey, USA. It was released on the Blue Note label as BLP 4157 and BST 84157.

The title track, "The Sidewinder", was one of the defining recordings of the soul jazz genre, becoming a jazz standard. An edited version was released as a single.

The album became a huge seller, and highly influential - many subsequent Morgan albums, and other Blue Note discs, would duplicate (or approximate) this album's format, by following a long, funky opening blues with a handful of conventional hard bop tunes. Record producer Michael Cuscuna recalls the unexpected success: "the company issued only 4,000 copies upon release. Needless to say, they ran out of stock in three or four days. And 'The Sidewinder' became a runaway smash making the pop 100 charts." By January 1965, the album had reached No. 25 on the Billboard chart.[1] The title track was used as the music in a Chrysler television advertisement and as a theme for television shows.[2][3]

Music and recording[edit]

The original album's five tracks, all written by Morgan, are heavily blues-based, and feature tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, then 26, whom Morgan (then 25) claimed at the time to be mentoring. Also present are the noted jazz drummer Billy Higgins, and double bassist Bob Cranshaw.

Reception[edit]

The Penguin Guide to Jazz selected this album as part of its suggested "Core Collection" (with a crown), calling the title track "a glorious 24-bar theme as sinuous and stinging as the beast of the title. It was both the best and worst thing that was ever to happen to Morgan before the awful events of 19 February 1972," referring to Morgan's killing at the hand of his common-law wife.[4] The album was identified by Scott Yanow in his Allmusic essay "Hard Bop" as one of the 17 Essential Hard Bop Recordings.[5]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[6]

Track listing[edit]

All songs composed by Lee Morgan.

  1. "The Sidewinder" – 10:25
  2. "Totem Pole" – 10:11
  3. "Gary's Notebook" – 6:03
  4. "Boy, What a Night" – 7:30
  5. "Hocus Pocus" – 6:21
  6. "Totem Pole" [Alternative take] – 9:57 Bonus track on CD reissue

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Billboard Top LPs" (January 9, 1965) Billboard, p. 8.
  2. ^ Lee Morgan biography
  3. ^ Tom Cat original liner notes
  4. ^ Cook, Richard; Brian Morton (2006). "Lee Morgan". The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings. The Penguin Guide to Jazz (8th. ed.). New York: Penguin. p. 944. ISBN 0-14-102327-9. 
  5. ^ Yanow, S. Hard Bop accessed December 7, 2009
  6. ^ The Sidewinder at AllMusic

External links[edit]