Gary Giddins
February 15, 1991 AT 05:00 AM EST

A Lovesome Thing

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Frank Morgan
Producers
Antilles
genre
Jazz

We gave it an A

A musician has to be damn sure of himself to open an album with an emphatic two-minute version of ”When You Wish Upon a Star.” Morgan is that sure. An alto saxophonist who came up in the fervent days of bop, he was off the scene for decades — mostly doing time for drug addiction — before rebuilding his career in the mid-’80s. His style is now so personal and laconic that he can do more with a sigh or a holler than he used to with the dazzling arpeggios he learned at the feet of Charlie Parker. A Lovesome Thing has a languid, sultry quality — an after-hours feeling. It boasts a first-class rhythm section, superb tunes, and guest appearances by trumpeter Roy Hargrove (who sounds a bit like Kenny Dorham on ”Helen’s Song”) and Abbey Lincoln, who sings a stunningly original version of the ancient Rodgers and Hart lament ”Ten Cents a Dance.” Morgan is at his introspective best on Billy Strayhorn’s ”A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing,” Matt Dennis and Tom Adair’s ”Everything Happens to Me” (credited to the wrong composers in the notes), and Wayne Shorter’s blues waltz ”Footprints.” A

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