The Most Famous Murder in Jazz

lee-morganJazz, like almost any other art form, is not without its off-stage drama. As a (below average) trumpet player, I am sensitive to the fact that there have been too many trumpeters before me who passed away far too early for a variety of far too unfortunate reasons. The list includes Clifford Brown, Bunny Berigan (see my remembrance of Berigan here) and of course, Lee Morgan.

I certainly don’t take murder or the loss of life lightly. And the murder of trumpeter Lee Morgan at the young age of 33 was a huge tragedy, as the jazz world had only been given a taste of what would no doubt be a legendary career. But there is always a story behind a story, and that is what we take a look at today.

There have been a number of different stories and accounts as to how Lee Morgan’s death took place, and for what reasons. I came across a very interesting interview with drummer Billy Hart, that I have linked for you to listen to here. Be advised – the interview contains explicit language that could be found offensive.