Mickey Roker with Lee Morgan – ‘The Complete Live at the Lighthouse’ Coming Soon

SKF NOTE: Blue Note Records has some exciting news for fans of trumpeter Lee Morgan and drummer Mickey Roker. The Complete Live at the Lighthouse session will be released this July 30. That’s 12 sets of music, including four hours of previously unreleased music. The album track here, The Beehive, is part of the unreleased music.

Mickey Roker, a complete drummer, is one of my favorites. Aside from the many times I’ve listened to him on albums, in the early 1970s I saw Roker with Dizzy Gillespie’s small group at the University of Iowa.

Lee Morgan? If I don’t own every album Lee Morgan recorded, I’m close. Currently, I own the 3-CD edited version of Live at the Lighthouse, and I’m looking forward to listening to the date in its entirety.

Here’s more info from Blue Note Records’ press release:

Blue Note Records has announced a July 30 release date for Lee Morgan The Complete Live at the Lighthouse, an expansive collection that presents for the very first time all 12 sets of music the legendary trumpeter’s quintet with saxophonist Bennie Maupin, pianist Harold Mabern, bassist Jymie Merritt, and drummer Mickey Roker recorded during their historic engagement at The Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach, California from July 10-12, 1970.

Originally released 50 years ago in 1971 as a 2-LP set, and later expanded to a 3-CD set in 1996, this definitive edition produced by Zev Feldman and David Weiss will be available as an 8-CD set and a limited-edition 12-LP all-analog 180g vinyl set that encompasses 33 performances including more than 4 hours of previously unreleased music that lets the listener relive the experience of being in the club for every exhilarating moment. A previously unreleased version of Mabern’s composition The Beehive from the 2nd set on Saturday, July 11 is available now to stream or download.

The audio was mixed from the original ½” 4-track tapes….

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Buddy Guy – Being With the Greats Broke My Heart

SKF NOTE: Neil Ralph was arguably my best friend at Harborfields High School. An accomplished musician, we certainly traveled many musical miles together. We certainly spent time listening to and playing Chicago blues tunes.

Fast forward to 1980 when Buddy’s Stone Crazy! arrived at my Modern Drummer desk. Great album, and the opening track, I Smell a Rat, is a pure killer.

Neil introduced me to Buddy Guy’s records. I remember especially Buddy’s A Man and the Blues album, and This is Buddy Guy – both on Vanguard records.

I spotted Buddy Guy’s book, When I Left Home: My Story, for sale at the Turner Public Library. It’s an interesting read, filling in some gaps in my blues history knowledge. And the book has a generous sample of words of wisdom from Buddy Guy.

For example:

At the same time, being with the greats also broke my heart. It broke that dream I had back in Baton Rouge that the greats were living in mansions and driving gold Cadillacs. Of all the greats, only Muddy [Waters] had a house. His was at 4339 South Lake Park, a place I’d get to know real well. The others, living in little rooms, could barely scratch up a living.

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Dannie Richmond’s Magnificent Musical Drum Solo

SKF NOTE: I owe so much to Charles Mingus. While listening to his small band (quintet?) at Newport 1970 jazz made sense for the first time. I’d been self-studying jazz for a long time and liked much of what I was hearing. But I didn’t really grasp the jazz form. I didn’t fully understand how jazz musicians in bands were relating to each other.

Charles Mingus changed all that.

I was intrigued by the recent reissue and remaster of Mingus at Carnegie Hall. This 2-CD set is the complete concert, rounding out the original LP which had only the second half, the jam session part of the concert.

This album reminds me again of just how magnificent was the team of Mingus on bass and Dannie Richmond on drums. I haven’t listened to the full album yet, but what I have listened to so far ended with Fables of Faubus – a Mingus classic. And I wanted to bring your attention to Dannie Richmond’s great, imaginative, dynamic drum solo. It starts at 14:21 on this digital version.

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I Didn’t Think of Roger Hawkins

Roger Hawkins photo courtesy Drummerworld.

SKF NOTE: Word of Roger Hawkins death brings to mind one of my more embarrassing moments at Modern Drummer magazine. I left Roger out of my History of Rock Drumming written for MD. When it was brought to my attention – I can’t recall exactly how – I dreaded my phone call apology to Roger.

He was as gracious as he could be. The truth, which I didn’t try to explain away or justify, was simply: I didn’t think to include Roger. Yes, I was well aware of – and loved – Roger’s playing. Even today, everytime a Muscle Shoals rhythm section song is on the radio I realize how much I loved and was influenced by that music.

And when I realized I’d left Roger out of my History I was stunned and feeling stupid, careless, and awkward. But, as I say, Roger was a real gentleman — which, in my experience, is who he was in all situations.

On DrumForum.org a member said he spent his whole life trying to be Roger Hawkins. He’s not the last drummer to take on that challenge, I’m sure.

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‘The Boy With a Drum’ – An Inspiration

SKF NOTE: I found this jewel in a box of 62 Little Golden Books. The drummer boy marches through his town, practicing his drum, with a parade of animals following along — and no one yells at him to “Stop drumming!” or to “Stop making noise.”

An inspiration.

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