Lee Morgan and Clifford Brown... What could have been?

Discussion in 'Jazz / Commercial' started by jazzman54, Nov 19, 2003.

  1. jazzman54

    jazzman54 New Friend

    Nov 9, 2003
    I often times wonder what Lee and Clifford would have brought to Jazz had they not left us at such an early age. curious to know if I am the only one? these guys were Monstors!! Who else would they have influenced. what music would they have brought to the table...
  2. TangneyK

    TangneyK Pianissimo User

    Nov 10, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ
    I'll probably get fried for this, and this might be moved to the "Steel Cage", but....

    I don't think that Clifford and Lee would have brought all that much CHANGE to the music. They were GREAT jazz players--two of the best that ever lived. But would they have radically changed the music the way Miles (especially), Coltrane, Ornette, Parker, Mingus, Ellington, etc.? I don't think so. Their playing would have developed, but (having never met them) I don't see/hear that "searching" quality in their playing/writing that I do in the cats mentioned above. Clifford and Lee were very innovative be-boppers and hard-boppers respectively, but in my humble opinion, I don't think it would have ever gone past that. THIS IS NOT A BAD THING!!!!! I think sometimes people fall into the trap that if someone isn't playing on the "cutting edge" of the music, they aren't considered to be "great." But we tend to forget that a tasty solo is just as nice.

    So, let me have it.

  3. Jarrett

    Jarrett Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Richland, MO
    I think you are overlooking Cliffords contribution as a writer as well. Great tunes like Jordu, and Joy Spring are just a small taste of what could have been. I don't think anyone could say that Clifford or Lee would or wouldn't be innovative, as they were really in the infancy of their playing... I mean Clifford had only been playing 11 years at the time of his death.
    Take Chet Baker and Miles, West Coast vs East Coast, both in the "Cool Jazz" Era, and very much battling each other through the entire era. Chet was not an innovator and Miles was. Why? Miles was looking forward and Chet was content to play My Funny Valentine every show for 40 years.
    In the 50's Chet was very much the "golden boy" of the west coast jazz scene, and was even voted "Best Jazz Trumpeter" by Downbeat over Clifford, Dizzy and Miles... come on? How does that work?
    Nobody can say this person could've would've or should've done anything... Clifford could have found heroin 5 years down the line and gone the Chet path. Or he could've been the innovator that Coltrane and Miles were... no one knows.
  4. Chadly

    Chadly New Friend

    Nov 16, 2003
    Another way to look at this is to look at the amazing players these guys played with and look at what they have done. A name that comes to mind is Herbie Hancock. Lee played with him and look at what Herbie is doing with "Jazz" today. Certainly not the same stuff that he did when Lee was still alive. Now Herbie is advancing the music using surround sound concerts and the latest technology. Lee also played with Coltrane who obviously influenced jazz immensely. I believe that if these guys were still alive they'd still be playing and I highly doubt that they would still be playing the same jazz standards they did 30 years ago.

    These two guys were young and already as good or better than everyone else. With that skill they would eventually get to the point where they would get bored and have to come up with innovative new ideas and they would influence and advance the music.

    I wish these guys wouldn't have died so young.

  5. JackD

    JackD Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 30, 2003
    Manchester / London
    I sincerely doubt that Clifford would have become a junkie - that seems completely out of character with everything I have read about him. I Clifford had lived longer, I have no idea what he would have come up with, but I'm sure he would have moved the music along, probably in a different direction to where Miles took it.

    Although it is a tragedy both Clifford and Lee died so young, let's be thankful for the great music they left us with!
  6. PH

    PH Mezzo Piano User

    Dec 2, 2003
    Bloomington, Indiana
    Certainly Lee died far to young at the age of 34. However, by that time he had already been recording and had been a household name among jazz musicians for 16 years. I think he would have continued to develop his own personal style (which is one of my all-time favorites), but I suspect that if he hadn't become an "innovator" in a 16 year career he wouldn't have blazed any really new trails in a longer career.

    He is still in my pantheon of great jazz trumpeters. As for Clifford, we'll just never know. He didn't have a long enough career to show whether he was going to innovate or simply refine.

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