Larry Thomas lrt0393 at hotmail.com
Wed Jan 7 14:23:37 EST 2009

This is an excellent, well-written, abundantly-researched, scholarly book on the life and music of one of the great, unheralded heroes of jazz, who was shot and killed at Slug's Jazz Club in Manhattan in 1972,  at the tender age of 33-years-old, by his 47-year-old, common-law wife, Helen Morgan.  McMillan, a trumpet player and writer, is obviously smitten by Lee's music and his ability to always rise to the occasion.  Morgan's short and resilient time on earth was troubled, drug-riddled and quite fruitful musically as McMillan documents quite superbly.  McMillan, who was aided by Lee's brother Jimmy, has uncovered information that previous researchers have failed to come up with--like the precise itinerary of Lee; quotations from Helen Morgan and the fact that Mrs. Morgan's court records are missing.  We also learn that Morgan was legally married once to Kiko Morgan and now we know who is probably getting his royalty checks.  McMillan's only shortcoming is his tendency to give long, detailed analysis of Lee's recording sessions.   They tend to be oriented toward musicians, take up a great deal of book, maybe a one-third, and read like reviews which would be perfect for a periodical, but are a bit tedious for a book.  Yet, the biography, after all, is very interesting and worth being in all jazz lovers' library, especially the ones who would learn to not make the same mistakes Lee made.
Larry Reni Thomascarolinajazzconnectionwithlarrythomas.blogspot.comWriter--"The Lady Who Shot Lee Morgan
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