A FORGOTTEN UK TENOR…Dick Morrissey: Live at The Bell 1972

Somewhat underappreciated on this side of the Atlantic, saxist Dick Morrissey (1940-2000) had a wide ranging career, playing with artists from Jimmy Witherspoon to JJ Johnson and Peter Gabriel. This 1972 concert from 1972 in Berkshire, UK has him at his most comfortable milieu, hard bop. He’s teamed with Lennie Best/vib, Alan Berry/p, Bill Larue/b and Ron Hetherington for exciting reads of jazz standards.

Morrissey’s tone gives hints of the Sonny Rollins roughness, and it works amazingly well as he flexes his muscles on “St. Thomas” and delivers a gorgeous aria on “Over the Rainbow.” The sparks fly between vibes, piano and sax on an “Unidentified Theme” while Hetherington keeps busy underneath the turbulent current of a cantering “Speak Low.” Berry lays down a hip groove on Phineas Newborn’s “Down Home,” and while the sound quality of the album has a bootleg feel, in terms of delivery the fidelity is mighty.


Leave a Reply