A brilliant bebop alto soloist, Lanny Morgan has been on the scene as a leader of his own group and a solo performer in the US and abroad since 1969, playing every major jazz club and festival that exists and guesting as soloist/clinician at colleges and universities in nearly every state of the union.
In jazz journalist Scott Yanow’s book, Bebop (Miller Freeman Books, 2000), he opens his bio piece on LANNY MORGAN as follows:“A brilliant bebop alto soloist often overlooked because he lives in Los Angeles rather than New York, Lanny Morgan is one of the underrated Greats: few can rip through Cherokee with his flow of ideas.”Countless critics and fans agree-in the U.S. and especially elsewhere-accounting for two upcoming repeat tours of the U.K. (April/May and October/November, 2003), where he has become a frequent frontliner with British musicians.As a leader of his own group and a solo performer, he has been on the scene here and abroad since 1969, playing every major jazz club and festival that exists and guesting as soloist/clinician at colleges and universities in nearly every state of the union.
Morgan first came to prominence in New York, as the young lead alto for Maynard Ferguson’s Big Band of the sixties, as well as the MF Sextet of the same era, and clubbing with his own group in the Big Apple.He has occupied many hot seats in his career-in bands led by Charlie Barnet, Tommy Alexander, Sal Salvador, Howard McGhee, Bill Berry, Bob Florence, Bill Holman, Shorty Rogers, Terry Gibbs and Frank Capp. And, he is a 31-year member of the Grammy-winning Supersax.
The most recent Morgan-led recording is an all-Charlie Parker project for Fresh Sound Records, A Suite for Yardbird, Lanny Morgan interprets the compositions of Charlie Parker. The repertoire includes both familiar and lesser known tunes, and features Morgan’s interpretations of Bird originals, along with preeminent players Tom Warrington on bass, drummer Paul Kreibich, and the late (2000) pianist Lou Levy. This follows Pacific Standard (Contemporary) and The Lanny Morgan Quartet (VSOP).In the nineties, Lanny juggled his own jazz performing and recording ventures with a touring schedule worldwide as one of Natalie Cole’s regular support players, which included fellow jazz veterans such as Harold Jones and Jim Hughart, during her seven “Unforgettable” years.
And, throughout the heyday of live music on television, he was involved in TV specials and a number of regular variety series. The heavy schedule of Los Angeles studio work also included many movie soundtracks.Of all the comments made, from Yanow’s recent accolade to earliest critiques, perhaps the most candid, also the most telling, came from Eric Snider, Music Magazine:“Just when it appears that my listening education of the glorious alto saxophone nears completion-Cole, Woods, Pepper, Adderly, of course Parker, and a few others having been properly savored- along comes a guy named Lanny Morgan, whose moniker is only remotely familiar, to knock me on my ass!”