In November, I asked Michael Connelly, on his Ask Michael Connelly portion of his message board, about a piece of music at the beginning of the video Blue Neon Night (Frank Morgan can be heard playing “Lullaby” at the end of the linked YouTube snippet). He answered in early February that if it had piano it would be George Cables, if it had saxophone it would be the late Frank Morgan. I hadn’t known that the jazz great had died.
Alto saxophonist Frank Morgan passed away in December. I wrote about him recently in the The Best Music You’ve Never Heard.
“Silence is our best friend. It gives what you play after it more meaning.”- Frank Morgan.
Jazz Police’s Obituary
I picked up a remaindered book by Michael Connelly a month or two ago. The Narrows was published in 2004 and shrink wrapped with a DVD titled “Blue Neon Night: Michael Connelly’s Los Angeles.”
On it, Connelly tells a bit about the detective he writes about: Harry Bosch. Excerpts from his stories are read as the camera pans across pieces of LA, “A sunny place for shady characters.”
The most haunting jazz I have ever heard is on that DVD. During the title menu, a snippet of Lullaby, a song written by George Cables and played by Frank Morgan, is on a loop. Frank Morgan was Charlie Parker’s heir apparent and released the album Frank Morgan in 1955. The expectation proved to be too much for him and he self-destructed. For the next thirty years he ping ponged from institution to institution, “Every time they tried to send me to New York I’d go back to prison.” Finally, in 1986 (Morgan was 54), Leonard Feather told him, “just show up and do what you do, and the world will open up to you.”
We liked Frank Morgan’s music so much we’ve bought two CDs, A Lovesome Thing and Mood Indigo. We play Lullaby every morning and night.
“Bosch thought he knew nothing truer than the sound of a saxophone.”
He may be right