The most common reaction after hearing Lee Morgan's Tom Cat is "why on earth didn't Blue Note release this at the time!". The great trumpeter, only 26 at the time of this recording, and his all-star cast with Jackie McLean, Art Blakey, Curtis Fuller and McCoy Tyner are a who's who of the mid-1960s hard bop scene. Quite simply, this is one of Lee Morgans' finest sessions. Even Blue Note owner Alfred Lion, when asked, was hard pressed to understand why a session of this caliber was held back.
However Morgan was recording so frequently for Blue Note during this era that several of his finest recordings were lost in the shuffle as the label looked for another hit to rival the massive success of Lee's The Sidewinder. The reasons are somewhat obscure but in any case, this classic outing sat in the vaults as Blue Note slowly declined, became inactive and by 1981 was reduced to being a reissue company focusing on its past glories.
With Morgan no longer around (having been shot in 1972 by a jealous lover while performing at Slugs night club in NYC), it's as if Lee Morgan is speaking from the grave, pointing out future directions for younger musicians. This memorable, innovative and soulful music is for many listeners one of Lee Morgan's best recordings.
Like all Music Matters Jazz releases, this audiophile vinyl reissue is mastered from the original analog tape and pressed on 180g virgin vinyl at RTI in Camarillo, CA. The highest quality gatefold cover features original session photography on the inside.See more Lee Morgan records here