The Sidewinder (The Rudy Van Gelder Edition Remastered)
Trumpeter Lee Morgan’s The Sidewinder is a landmark of 1960s soul jazz that has gone on to influence generations of artists. One big reason is the popular title track, which crossed over to the pop charts. “The Sidewinder” cruises along on a buoyant rhythm driven by bassist Bob Cranshaw, drummer Billy Higgins, and pianist Barry Harris. The head, as catchy as a pop tune, is played by Morgan and tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson with great style. But the rest of the pieces, all by Morgan, are also very good. The Latin-tinged “Totem Pole” features a fine trumpet solo that utilizes a variety of timbres, and Henderson’s statement is at least as good. “Gary’s Notebook” has an edgier, more modernist theme, along with solos by the horns and Harris. The bluesy “Boy, What a Night” swings fiercely, thanks in large part to Higgins. The album closes with “Hocus Pocus,” which feels like a standard, but is actually another Morgan original. It’s a delight to hear Higgins bust out here.