Lee Morgan – The Sidewinder – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This SHOCKINGLY QUIET Blue Note NYC Label Stereo pressing is the one of the VERY BEST SOUNDING COPIES OF THE SIDEWINDER WE’VE EVER HEARD! When we dropped the needle on this one, we immediately stopped listening critically and just began enjoying the album. That’s the sign of an exceptional copy — the sound gets out of the way and the music becomes the point.

Both sides here have SUPERB SOUND, with side one earning the full Three Plus grade and side two nearly as amazing. There’s LIFE and PRESENCE the likes of which you almost never hear on ANY jazz record. The sound is rich and full, from the extended top end all the way down to the deepest bass. No copy we played it against nor any copy we can remember ever hearing sounded any better to us. Both musically and sonically, this is Blue Note at its best!

The trumpet on this album is NEAR PERFECTION! It sounds just right to us — tonally correct with lots of texture and wonderful leading edge transients. The drums, played superbly by Billy Higgins, sound amazing as well. Just listen to the ride cymbal to hear how extended the top end is. The bottom end is Right On The Money as well — deep, punchy, and well-defined.

The lineup here is fantastic, with Joe Henderson on tenor sax, Billy Higgins on drums, Barry Harris on piano and Bob Cranshaw on bass.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

The Sidewinder 
Totem Pole

Side Two

Gary’s Notebook 
Boy, What a Night 
Hocus Pocus

AMG Review

Carried by its almost impossibly infectious eponymous opening track, The Sidewinder helped foreshadow the sounds of boogaloo and soul-jazz with its healthy R&B influence and Latin tinge. While the rest of the album retreats to a more conventional hard bop sound, Morgan’s compositions are forward-thinking and universally solid… The group works together seamlessly to create an album that crackles with energy while maintaining a stylish flow.