[JPL] Frank Morgan' Passing

Eric Alan at Jazz Rendezvous eric at jazzrendezvous.co.za
Sun Dec 16 03:19:37 EST 2007

 I was very deeply saddened to hear of the passing of another jazz icon, Mr
Frank Morgan. 

I count myself immensely lucky to have met Frank Morgan when he was part of,
by default, the first North Sea Jazz Cruise in July of this year. He came in
as a late replacement for Bud Shank, who was ill and was personally my gain
on this trip as I¹d recently done a special show on Frank. What was much
more exciting for me was, on sitting down for the very first meal on the
cruise in the dining room seeing this little man shuffling over towards our
table without a thought of recognition and joining our table then sitting
down next to me. It was then that recognition hit me, it was Frank Morgan,
it was strange my hand was shaking and I was nervous like  a groupie at a
pop concert meeting the star after the show to ask for an autograph. On
introducing my other table companions, we started chatting. I

 found him to, what I suppose is the best way to describe him, a loveable
old rogue, with a gentle demure. When he learned that all at the dinner
table were from South Africa the breadth of his smile brightened the whole
room and the first words he uttered was that he and Madiba were kindred
souls, they shared the same thing, being imprisoned for most of their adult
lives in fact he told us that he had spent more time spent in jail than

He stated with a huge smile, that he wished to visit my country and would
love to sit down and chat to the great man in person., old ma, to old man. I
promised that on my return home I would talk to my good friend and ex boss
from the early days of community radio, Rashid Lombard, now CEO of the Cape
Town International Jazz Festival about having him on the bill of the
festival. He added that he would come on his own and would dearly love to
play with South African musicians. Once we returned, I immediately contacted
Rashid and told him of my meeting with Frank and his wish, he said that the
bill for the 2008 festival was complete and would add Franks name to his
list for consideration for the 2009 festival. Sadly now a forgotten dream.

I was taken by his frankness about his life, for which he maintained he had
no regrets, however something I sensed in his quiet slow and deliberate
manner of speaking was more bravado than the truth. There was an inner
haunting inner sadness in him that I felt as if he knew his time on the
earth was coming to an end. He too, was a very brave man as he never let
anyone at the table know of his illness and he never showed that he was
gravely ill. It was a huge surprise on finding out about his cancer after
the fact.

I was hugely enriched by my meeting with Frank Morgan and hearing some of
the stories he had to tell about his life over the few days of his stay with
us on the ship, which he left in Hamburg.

I am also left with a sad memory of meeting him, on my going ashore, with
great anger in his eyes as there was no transport arranged to take him to
the airport. There was no one from the organizers to assist him and the
German customs officials were totally unwilling to assist. They wanted him
to walk about a mile to a taxi rank with all his luggage and equipment and
would not call a taxi in to the disembarkation area nor would not allow a
taxi in to come and pick him up. I too got very pissed off with the lack of
compassion and feeling from the Germans so much so that went to the gate and
climbed in a taxi and told the that I needed to be dropped off at the
terminal building, The taxi driver was most helpful and we got Mr. Morgan
off to the airport,  needless to say it became very emotional once the
problem had been sorted out.

Thank you for the short time we spent together, I was humbled by your grace
and charm. Thank you for sharing your life experiences so unselfishly with
me. It was a privilege and an honor to have met you. Rest in peace Frank
Morgan you live on through the music you gave to the world.

Quotes of the Day

I'm eternally grateful to the penal system in California for saving my life.
- Frank Morgan
It's my fault in many cases because I don't initiate the contact to talk
with a lot of other musicians. - Frank Morgan
I was an admirer of Art Pepper even before I went to California, when he was
still in Kenton's band. His playing is joyous, great. - Frank Morgan
Art led the way for me to recover. He got out of prison before me and
started traveling all over the world before I did. He showed me by example
that it could be done, and I'll always love him for that. - Frank Morgan
Joke of the Day

Which drummer?
There's a 10 buck note on the floor. Of a thrash guitarist, a drummer who
keeps good time, and a drummer who keeps bad time, who picks it up?
The drummer who keeps bad time. The other drummer doesn't exist, and the
thrash guitarist doesn't care about notes anyway.

Words of Wisdom for Today

Never invest your money in anything that eats or needs painting
Thought for the Day

All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare
African Proverb of the Day

A proud heart can survive a general failure because such a failure does not
prick its pride
Have a truly great week
See it Š with your own ears
Yours in Music

Eric Alan

100.2FM Sundays from 17h00 to 20h00 (Please note that if there is a sports
event on the day then the show will start an hour later)
Member: SAJE (South African Jazz Educators Association) and IAJE
(International Association for Jazz Education)
Columnist: Roots Magazine; Jazz Rendezvous Roots, where jazz lovers meet to
Founding Member: Western Cape Musicians Association
Master of Ceremonies: Cape Town International Jazz Festival and the Cape
Town Jazzathon and Athlone Academy of Music Festival
Contributor and CD Reviewer to various publications around Cape Town
Postal Address: Postnet Suite 261, Private Bag X16, Constantia, 7848. Cape
Town, South Africa
Phone Mobil:
00 ­ (0) 21­ (0)82 ­ 456 ­ 2195
Phone Office:
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Email ­ Radio Station: Radio 2000
eric at radio2000.co.za
Email Work:  
editor at jazzrendezvous.co.za
Email Home:
eric at jazzrendezvous.co.za

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