Frank Morgan was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1933, the son of a guitarist who played with The Ink Spots. Morgan took up guitar when he was a young child, but lost interest when he saw Charlie Parker take his first solo with the Jay McShann band in Detroit. Morgan’s father introduced young Morgan and Parker backstage, where Parker offered the young musician some advice about playing the alto sax. The next day they met at a music store, a meeting that marked the beginning of an informal mentoring relationship between Morgan and Parker that continued even after Morgan began to make his own way in the business.
By the time he was 15, Morgan was playing with the likes of Dexter Gordon, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Josephine Baker. He played into his 70s although his career was interrupted more than once because of drugs and eventually incarceration in San Quentin prison. The life of a professional musician can be a dangerous place for some.
The tune this time is Hoagy Carmichael’s lovely 1938 ballad, “The Nearness of You.” Ned Washington wrote lyrics, which are also lovely, but this time it’s an instrumental with Frank Morgan, Conte Candoli and Machito’s Rhythm Section. In addition to Morgan on alto saxophone and Candoli on trumpet, the personnel are LeRoy Vinnegar on bass, Lawrence Marable on drums, Howard Roberts on guitar, Carl Perkins on piano and Wardell Gray on tenor saxophone.
I strongly recommend you consider finding a partner for this one, JazzBabies. It was meant for slow dancing…Oh, yeah…